I received $150 from AstraZeneca, and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/AstraZeneca.
Did you know that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month? While we all very familiar with Breast Cancer, it seems that Ovarian Cancer doesn’t get as much press…and many of us know very little about it. I want to share with you some really important information today – information that could very possible help you or the women in your life when it comes to Ovarian Cancer diagnosis! BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes involved with cell growth, cell division, and cell repair. Although they are most commonly associated with BReast CAncer, approximately 15% of women with ovarian cancer also have BRCA gene mutations!
The Importance of BRCA Testing for Ovarian Cancer
There are a number of misperceptions about BRCA testing, such as the misperception that only those with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer or who are diagnosed at a young age should be tested. But, family history and age are poor predictors of BRCA status in ovarian cancer patients, which is why it is so important for all women with ovarian cancer to be tested.
National guidelines from organizations such as NCCN, ASCO and SGO recommend that all patients with epithelial ovarian cancer be considered for BRCA testing, regardless of family history, age at diagnosis, or ethnicity. Despite these guidelines, every year many patients with ovarian cancer are not tested for a BRCA1/2 mutation.
One of the reasons many patients are missed is the misperception that only those patients with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer or who are diagnosed at a young age should be tested.
Screening based on family history or age misses many ovarian cancer patients with a BRCA mutation:
- Family history and age at diagnosis are poor predictors of BRCA status in ovarian cancer patients
- Almost half (47%) of BRCA-positive ovarian cancer patients have no significant family history of ovarian or breast cancer
- Over two thirds (71%) of BRCA-positive ovarian cancer patients are aged 50 or older
It’s very simple to be tested; a blood or saliva sample can be taken at your physician’s office or at a local lab. In the United States, results are usually available in 2 to 3 weeks. Personalized, or precision, medicine tailors treatment to a patient’s genetic profile, and with cancer it means doctors can target the specific mutations that they know drive a disease – this helps patients determine the right treatment options for them. For this reason, it is important for women with ovarian cancer to receive genetic testing so that they can plan with their doctor an individual treatment plan that is optimized for their specific cancer.
The Realities of an Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
For patients with advanced ovarian cancer who have had multiple lines of chemotherapy, the prognosis is poor and treatment options are progressively limited with each additional line of therapy. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 21,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the Unites States in 2015, and that a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1 in 73.
For the 60% of ovarian cancer patients whose cancer has spread to other organs by the time of diagnosis, the five-year survival rate is only 27%. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system and is often diagnosed late because symptoms mirror everyday ailments.
How You Can Help
Encourage your followers to help raise awareness for ovarian cancer during the month of September by having conversations with their friends and family members about ovarian cancer and the importance of BRCA testing, and by sharing one of the images or videos below on their social channels with the hashtag #beBRCAware.
Watch the #beBRCAware video now!
Find Out More About Being #beBRCAware