Breast cancers in women and have become very common nowadays. Though there is a host of factors that lead to breast cancer but the most common is the ‘Genetic Factor’. Researchers have witnessed that be it is breast cancer or ovarian cancer; heredity has a major role to play in this. Most of the inherited incidents of breast cancer are associated with two types of abnormal genes – Breast Cancer Gene 1 (BRCA 1) and Breast Cancer Gene 2 (BRCA 2). Women who inherit a mutation in either of the genes from their parents are at an increased risk of developing cancer in the breasts. A breast cancer test for genetic involves blood test for BRCA1 and BRCA2.
For diagnosis, doctors usually order a special type of blood test known as Blood Marker Test. Protein and Circulating tumour cells are the two types of protein markers that are measured. Blood marker tests are performed before the treatment and help to diagnose breast cancer. It assesses whether the cancer is responding during and after the treatment. Breast cancer test cost can be expensive depending on the type of genetic test and involves minimal or no risk.
Types of Blood Markers
There are several types of breast cancer testing guidelines that doctors usually follow. Along with the guidelines, they also use various types of blood markers. The 5 most commonly used blood markers include –
- CA 15.3 – This test is performed to examine Breast and Ovarian cancers.
- TRU-QUANT and CA 27.29 – It is performed when the doctors become almost 90% sure that breast cancer is present.
- CA 125 – This test helps to determine the presence of ovarian cancer, breast, and ovarian can recurrence.
- CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen) – It is a type of marker that detects the presence of colon, lungs and liver cancers. It also determines if the breast cancer cells have travelled to other parts of the body.
- Circulating tumour cells – Circulating tumour cells break off from cancer and travel to the bloodstream. High circulating tumour cells counts indicate that the cancer cells are gradually spreading to other parts of the body.
If one has already suffered from this fatal disease and tends to develop BRCA mutation, it means that the patient is at a greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer in future. Some types of preventive measures that one should opt for are –
- Performing preventive or prophylactic mastectomy or removal of both the breasts. This process reduces the risk of breast cancer to about 90%.
- Performing preventive or prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy or removal of both the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
- Taking hormonal therapy medicines. These drugs lower the risk of breast cancer in women.