Understanding your genes

What is BRCA, you ask? BRCA stands for BReast CAncer susceptibility gene, of which there are two: BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes are “tumor suppressor” genes that help the body prevent tumor growth and prevent cancers. When there is a mutation in the BRCA genes, they are more likely to cause breast and cervical cancers.

Who’s at increased risk for BRCA mutation?

Your risk is greater if:

  • Any of your family members (blood related) had breast or ovarian cancer.
  • You have multiple relatives with breast cancer.
  • You have male relatives diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • You are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (Central or Eastern European).

How can I reduce my risk if I carry a BRCA mutation?

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Develop and maintain healthy eating habits.
  • Cut back on alcohol.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Breastfeed.
  • Use hormonal birth control.

Useful Websites:

Know BRCA:

Livestrong Foundation/Fertility Brochure:

Susan G. Komen/Genetic Counseling and Testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations:

FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered:

Louisiana's Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network

Young women with breast cancer face unique issues. And in the South, there are more young women overall facing breast cancer. In Louisiana, young African-American women are significantly more likely to suffer from breast cancer.

That is why SurviveDAT is here. Part of the Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network, SurviveDAT's mission is to help improve the quality of life for young breast cancer survivors, as well as their family and friends, by providing continuing resources and support.

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