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An Expert Shares Advice for BRCA1 and BRCA2 Carriers

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Published on March 17, 2017

What should BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers do with this information? Dr. Angela Bradbury from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shares her perspective related to the options for BRCA carriers. Dr. Bradbury touches on surgery, prevention, clinical trials, and the importance of registries for capturing data.

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Transcript | An Expert Shares Advice for BRCA1 and BRCA2 Carriers

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Dr. Bradbury:

In some cases, those procedures, or prophylactic surgeries that are being offered, as really the best options right now. For women who carry a BRCA1 or 2 mutation, and reach the age of 40, they are at increased risk for ovarian cancer. Given the great limitation of ovarian cancer screening, we do recommend removal of the ovaries, that is not an easy decision.

It is not something that we are happy is our only choice. But for those who may be in their 30s to 40s, and there is not urgency to considering that, that is a great time to participate in the trials. There is still a lot of work to be done, so I would encourage women to participate. As far as prophylactic mastectomy for women, that is an option, there are alternatives. We have good screening with breast MRI.

There are different options. So for a woman deciding between those two, I think that is a great time to participate in trials. For those who are affected with cancer, there is a lot of investigation with targeted therapies for BRCA carriers, not just for breast and ovary cancer but also other BRCA-related cancers like pancreatic and prostate cancers. There is a lot of enthusiasm for PARP inhibitors, but we still have a lot to learn about when we use PARP inhibitors and can we use them earlier, like in adjuvant therapy, or in prevention.

How should they be combined, which populations will benefit, and that is a great place for people to participate in trials. So for women who have a BRCA mutation and are diagnosed with a cancer, I think it is worth visiting a center, that has some open trials, to participate. There are also some national opportunities, not necessarily specific to BCRA1 and 2, but even for patients who have had genetic testing. Some of the way that we are going to answer these questions about what the risks are with some of these new genes, is through large registries.

So there are national registries, like PROMPT, for anyone who has had multi-gene panel testing, to help determine with variants are significant and which ones aren’t.  The only way to change things, for the next generation, is to be a part of the science that changes it.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.