BRCA testing became popular when celebrity Angelina Jolie had it done. Genetic testing was very expensive and not covered by insurance companies. It is now covered by insurances if it is deemed as medically necessary.
Image credit: Aviano Air Base
BRCA is a blood test that searches for specific gene markers. These markers are known to be related to specific types of cancer.
In my case, my mom passed away this year from ovarian cancer and my maternal grandmother passed away from some type of gynecological cancer. Back in the time of my grandmother, science wasn’t as detailed as it is now. I have no way of knowing whether her cancer was cervical or ovarian.
Ovarian is seen as a rare type of cancer, but is very deadly because the symptoms are not obvious indicators of something as serious as cancer, so by the time someone realizes something is wrong, they are often in stage 3 or 4.
Needless to say, my BRCA test was approved as medically necessary. I then suffered through 3 weeks of waiting for the results. My medical office did a phone appointment to go over the results before I was given them. They wanted to make sure I understood the results and didn’t overly panic if there was something wrong.
Finally, the results were in. I don’t have the gene for ovarian cancer. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t get it. There’s always a 5% chance, but at least I know I don’t need to take drastic measures right now, just continue to monitor it, and live as healthy of a lifestyle as I can.
Knowing whether or not I had the gene was important to me so I could take the measures I needed to and move forward. Not all cancers are something you can do something about. So, knowing can become a hard thing to bare.