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STRONG is the Only Choice You Have #beBRCAware

I received $150 from AstraZeneca, and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/AstraZeneca.

Be Strong


As long as my bloodline goes back it’s easy for me to tell you cause of death.


Ovarian. Duodenum. Lung. Colon.

My mom is going to end that for us because she is a Breast Cancer survivor. The buck stops here.

As part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month I am sharing my support through my blog and social channels via the #beBRCAware Campaign. Have you or anyone you have know been diagnosed with ovarian cancer? Have you ever heard of the BRCA gene? Been tested?

If you aren’t aware of what the BRCA gene is and it’s importance, this is a must read. I hope today a life will be saved because I am sharing this information with you.

Although the BRCA gene is most commonly associated with BReast CAncer, it still shows in 15% of women with ovarian cancer as a mutation. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes involved with cell growth, cell division, and cell repair. Why is this important?

Because there is a test know as BRCA that can be done for early detection. Did you hear it’s only good for those of us who have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer? Myth. “Family history and age are poor predictors of BRCA status in ovarian cancer patients, which is why it is so important for all women with ovarian cancer to be tested.”

brca awareness

National guidelines from organizations such as NCCN, ASCO and SGO recommend that all patients with epithelial ovarian cancer be considered for BRCA testing, regardless of family history, age at diagnosis, or ethnicity3,4

  • Approximately 15% of women with ovarian cancer have a deleterious BRCA mutation5
  • Despite these guidelines, every year many patients with ovarian cancer are not tested for a BRCA1/2 mutation6,7
  • Family history and age at diagnosis are poor predictors of BRCA status in ovarian cancer patients8,9
  • Almost half (47%) of BRCA-positive ovarian cancer patients have no significant family history of ovarian or breast cancer9
  • Over two thirds (71%) of BRCA-positive ovarian cancer patients are aged 50 or older9

strength brca

What does the test involved?

It’s a simple blood or saliva sample can be taken at your physician’s office or at a local lab. In the United States, results are usually available in 2 to 3 weeks. Early detection through BRCA testing affects treatment options that are available and makes it so that doctors can target the specific mutations that they know drive the disease. I only wish this were available for my family members back in the day.

For this reason, it is important for women with ovarian cancer to receive genetic testing so that they can plan with their doctor an individual treatment plan that is optimized for their specific cancer.


The Realities of an Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
It’s crazy but ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. It’s often diagnosed later because symptoms mirror everyday ailments, but now that you know about BRCA we can change these statistics!

  • The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 21,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the Unites States in 2015, and that a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1 in 73.

  • For the 60% of ovarian cancer patients whose cancer has spread to other organs by the time of diagnosis, the five-year survival rate is only 27%

How YOU Can Help
You can also help raise awareness for ovarian cancer during the month of September by having talking to your firend and your family about the importance of BRCA testing. You can also share one of the images on my post on your social media with the hashtag #beBRCAware.

Join The Conversation
Hashtag: #beBRCAware
Twitter: @beBRCAware


1. Pal T, Permuth-Wey J, Betts JA, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for a large proportion of ovarian carcinoma cases. Cancer. 2005;104(12):2807-2816.

2. National Cancer Institute. BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer risk and genetic testing. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA. Accessed June 2, 2014.

3. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian. Version 1.2014.

4. Lu KH, Wood ME, Daniels M, et al; American Society of Clinical Oncology. American Society of Clinical Oncology Expert Statement: collection and use of a cancer family history for oncology providers. J Clin Oncol. 2014;32(8):833-840.

5. Pal T, Permuth-Wey J, Betts, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for a large proportion of ovarian carcinoma cases. Cancer. 2005;104(12):2807-2816.

6. Myriad Genetics. http://www.myriadpro.com. Accessed November 18, 2014.

7. Meyer LA, Anderson ME, Lacour RA, et al. Evaluating women with ovarian cancer for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations: missed opportunities. Obstet Gynecol. 2010;115(5):945-952.

8. Song H, Cicek MS, Dicks E, et al. The contribution of deleterious germline mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2 and the mismatch repair genes to ovarian cancer in the population. Hum Mol Gen. 2014;(April 30):1-7.

9. Alsop K, Fereday S, Meldrum C, et al. BRCA mutation frequency and patterns of treatment response in BRCA mutation-positive women with ovarian cancer: a report from the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study Group. J Clin Oncol. 2012;30(21):2654-2663. 


  1. Mary Ambrosino says

    I want all my daughters to have this test.