Let’s start with the basics. Although the terms genetics and genomics are commonly used interchangeably, they are not synonymous. Genetics refers to a person’s genetic makeup, whereas Genomics is typically used in reference to a tumor’s molecular composition. Genetic testing may help to identify an individual’s risk of cancer and other diseases. A genomic test may vary over time as it is used as a strong indicator of the cancer’s behavior, such as how aggressive it is and whether it will spread to specific areas of the body. Both tests are crucial in terms of treatment direction and targeting, preventing late-stage cancer diagnoses, and increasing survival rates. These tests are used to treat and prevent various other diseases.
When we discuss genetic testing in the cancer world, BRCA testing is typically mentioned. The BRCA gene test is a blood test that uses DNA analysis to identify harmful changes or mutations. This test is generally offered to those who are likely to have an inherited mutation based on a family history of certain cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancer. It is important to note that mutations in either breast cancer gene (BRCA 1 OR BRCA 2) significantly increase the risk of the following cancers: breast cancer, male breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma. Due to the complexity of genetic testing, it is highly recommended to seek the guidance of your cancer care team, including your cancer care advocate. These tests have the potential to save your life! Beacon Advocates are highly specialized and qualified to explore BRCA testing and their results. For more information contact Beacon Advocates. You can also read more here.