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What Is The Blood Test For Breast Cancer

What Are Brca1 And Brca2

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BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that produce proteins that help repair damaged DNA. Everyone has two copies of each of these genesone copy inherited from each parent. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are sometimes called tumor suppressor genes because when they have certain changes, called harmful variants , cancer can develop.

People who inherit harmful variants in one of these genes have increased risks of several cancersmost notably breast and ovarian cancer, but also several additional types of cancer. People who have inherited a harmful variant in BRCA1 and BRCA2 also tend to develop cancer at younger ages than people who do not have such a variant.

A harmful variant in BRCA1 or BRCA2 can be inherited from either parent. Each child of a parent who carries any mutation in one of these genes has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutation. Inherited mutationsalso called germline mutations or variantsare present from birth in all cells in the body.

Even if someone has inherited a harmful variant in BRCA1 or BRCA2 from one parent, they would have inherited a normal copy of that gene from the other parent . But the normal copy can be lost or change in some cells in the body during that persons lifetime. Such a change is called a somatic alteration. Cells that dont have any functioning BRCA1 or BRCA2 proteins can grow out of control and become cancer.

What Are Healing Foods For A Cancer Patient

In general, most people should eat a diet that is rich in color , limit portions, emphasize plant and seafood forms of fat, reduce refined sugars, flour and processed foods and limit portions .

Specifically, the following foods are considered healing foods for cancer patients which means they provide essential nutrients or anti-inflammatory benefits:

  • Oatmeal
  • Vegetables, raw and cooked, especially those that are bright colored .
  • Whole wheat and other grains
  • Salmon and other fish high in omega-3 content
  • Fresh fruits, especially blueberries, strawberries and cranberries)
  • Soy-based products

Is There Any Chance That The Tumor Marker Test Reports May Go Wrong

  • Yes, there is a chance that the report may show false negative, which means the results tell that the person doesnt have cancer, when they actually have cancer. The other possibility is it also means that a treatment is working when its actually not working.
  • Also, theres a chance that the report may show false positive, which means the results suggest a person has cancer or that the cancer is growing, even when its not.
  • Thats why other tests are usually done along with tumor marker tests to confirm the findings.

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Using Blood To Spot Cancer

Stefan H. Bossmann, PhD, is a distinguished professor at Kansas State University and was part of a team that developed blood test technology that looked at cancer-related enzymes in blood.

He told Healthline about some of the ways to detect cancer in blood. These include looking for circulating tumor DNA or RNA, tumor cells, epigenetic markers, TAAs, and proteases and kinases .

Another blood test for breast cancer in testing claims to be able to detect 15 different biomarkers in the blood, spotting metastatic and recurring cancers at an early stage, as well as small tumors.

That test may also be used for long-term monitoring to gauge treatment efficacy and is meant to complement other screening methods. It may be out later this year in European markets, according to reports.

Another blood test for early cancer detection, CancerSEEK, is a liquid biopsy test aimed at detecting multiple types of cancer by looking at circulating DNA. It recently obtained venture capital funding.

What Are The Tests For Ovarian Cancer How Effective Are They

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Unlike other cancers, such as breast cancer, there are no truly, reliable screening tests for ovarian cancer. However, research into one or more screening methods is ongoing. The most commonly used preliminary tests to look for cancer of the ovaries are:

  • Pelvic exams
  • Transvaginal ultrasounds
  • CA-125 blood tests

During the pelvic exam, the doctor will insert a finger into your vagina while pressing down on your abdomen. The doctor is looking for an enlarged ovary or tenderness over the ovaries. This finding does not necessarily indicate cancer. Such findings can also appear when a woman has a non-cancerous, or benign, cyst on the ovary. Also, ovarian cancer in its early stages can be too small to feel using this method.

You should be aware that PAP smears look for cancer of the cervix and do not test for ovarian cancer. Therefore, paying attention to your body and having regular pelvic exams is extremely important.

Another related and important exam, which should be done on women who are 35 or older, is a rectovaginal exam. Here the doctor will insert a finger in the rectum and the vagina at the same time, again to feel for unusual swelling or tenderness.

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What Happens If Any Of These Tests Are Positive Or Indicate Possible Ovarian Cancer

It is recommended that you should see a gynecologist, specifically a gynecologic oncologist immediately. The gynecologic oncologist is a gynecologist who is also a cancer specialist.

Remember, although it may sometimes be difficult to find in its early stages, you can do so. You must know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and listen to your body. Your awareness is the first test against this disease.

Why The Test Is Performed

MRI provides detailed pictures of the breast. It also provides clear pictures of parts of the breast that are hard to see clearly on an ultrasound or mammogram.

Breast MRI may also be performed to:

  • Check for more cancer in the same breast or the other breast after breast cancer has been diagnosed
  • Distinguish between scar tissue and tumors in the breast
  • Evaluate an abnormal result on a mammogram or breast ultrasound
  • Evaluate for possible rupture of breast implants
  • Find any cancer that remains after surgery or chemotherapy
  • Show blood flow through the breast area
  • Guide a biopsy

An MRI of the breast may also be done after a mammogram to screen for breast cancer in women who:

  • Are at very high risk for breast cancer
  • Have very dense breast tissue

Before having a breast MRI, talk to your provider about the pros and cons of having the test. Ask about:

  • Your risk for breast cancer
  • Whether screening decreases your chance of dying from breast cancer
  • Whether there is any harm from breast cancer screening, such as side effects from testing or overtreatment of cancer when discovered

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How The Test Will Feel

An MRI exam causes no pain. You will need to lie still. Too much movement can blur MRI images and cause errors.

If you are very anxious, you may be given medicine to calm your nerves.

The table may be hard or cold, but you can ask for a blanket or pillow. The machine makes loud thumping and humming noises when turned on. You will likely be given ear plugs to help reduce the noise.

An intercom in the room lets you to speak to someone at any time. Some MRIs have televisions and special headphones to help the time pass.

There is no recovery time, unless you were given a medicine to relax. After an MRI scan, you can return to your normal diet, activity, and medicines unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Breast Cancer Lab Tests Identify Risk Diagnose And Guide Treatment

Possible blood test to detect breast cancer

A variety of breast cancer tests can help determine a persons genetic risk for the disease as well as diagnose breast cancer in the early stages. Lab tests for breast cancer may also be used to:

  • Analyze characteristics of the breast cancer to determine appropriate treatment options
  • Determine whether breast cancer has metastasized
  • Monitor the effectiveness of breast cancer treatments and identify any recurrence of breast cancer

Lab tests for breast cancer include blood testing and biopsy.

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What Are Cancer Markers

Cancer is also called as a tumor, meaning an abnormal mass or growth of tissue without inflammation. Therefore, blood tests for cancer markers are also called Tumor

Advantages of Getting Blood Tests Done for Tumor Markers are:

  • There are specific tumor markers for specific types of cancers.
  • The counts of tumor markers correspond to the size and extent of cancerous growth.
  • Tumor markers have high sensitivity for cancerous growth.
  • They help to screen for cancers even before signs and symptoms begin to appear.
  • Tumor markers are diagnostic as well as prognostic about a certain type of cancer.
  • Blood tests for caner markers can predict patients response to therapy.
  • Blood tests for cancer markers are also used to know recurrence of cancer.
  • Tumor markers are substances present in the blood when you have cancer. But it is not completely diagnostic. Sometimes, these tumor markers may be present in the blood due to certain other diseases. That is why only some tumor markers are considered to be of diagnostic value.

    How Close Are We To A Blood Test For Breast Cancer

    • Researchers are looking at whether we can detect breast cancer via blood test.
    • Were still years away from the test being available to the public.
    • Early stage cancers shed very small amounts of most biomarkers into blood.

    Theres a new blood test that aims to detect breast cancer. Its one of many attempts to create an effective early detection method.

    The test could pinpoint breast cancer up to 5 years before a person shows clinical signs of the disease, according to researchers from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

    The test evaluates the bodys immune response to the substances tumor cells produce.

    Cancer cells make antigens that cause the body to make antibodies known as autoantibodies. The test looks for the presence of autoantibodies against tumor-associated antigens .

    The team was able to make a panel that looked for autoantibodies against 40 antigens that are known to be associated with breast cancer.

    Additionally, they looked at 27 antigens or TAAs that werent known to be linked with breast cancer.

    The research was presented at the 2019 National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference.

    To assess the test, the researchers collected blood samples from 90 people with breast cancer when they received their diagnosis. They then compared those samples with blood samples from 90 people without breast cancer.

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    Understanding Your Lab Test Results

    When you have cancer it often seems like someone is always taking blood for some kind of test. Blood tests are done to help watch your bodys response to treatment. They can show small changes before problems get serious. Keeping track of your results lets your doctor take action as soon as your blood counts change to help prevent many cancer-related problems and cancer treatment side effects.

    Here are 2 of the most common types of blood tests and what they can tell the doctor about your health: the complete blood count and the chemistry panel.

    Some people find it helps to ask for a copy of their lab results and have a member of their cancer care team go over the numbers with them. By getting a copy, you can also see what the normal ranges are for the lab that tested your blood and where your numbers fall within that range.

    What If You Have Already Had Breast Cancer

    A blood test that can detect breast cancer is expected to ...

    If you had early-stage breast cancer and have no signs that your cancer has returned, you may not need imaging or tumor marker tests. It is not likely that your cancer has returned. These tests usually do not help you live longer. And they can lead to a wrong diagnosis and unneeded treatments.

    Usually, the best way to monitor your cancer is to have a mammogram each year and a physical exam every six months. And watch for symptoms, such as a new lump or pain in the breast. Studies show that most breast cancer that returns is found through symptoms, not imaging tests.

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    Questions To Ask Your Health Care Team

    Consider asking the following questions about your CBC test:

    • Why am I having this test?

    • How and where is this test done?

    • Do I need to avoid eating and drinking before the test? If so, for how long?

    • How will I get the results of my test?

    • What are normal test results?

    • What do my test results mean? Will someone explain them to me?

    • If my results are within a normal range, what are the next steps?

    • If my results are outside of a normal range, what are the next steps?

    • How do these test results compare with my previous results?

    • Will I need additional tests? If so, when?

    What Are Some Measures I Can Take To Avoid Breast Cancer Or Minimize The Disease

    Most experts agree that screening is the best way to catch breast cancer in its early stages. It doesnt prevent cancer but it can lead to quick detection and a better outcome. There is still some debate about when or whether to get screened for breast cancer, stemming from a study that showed more deaths from breast cancer occurred in younger women who didnt get regular mammograms. Arguments arose about false positives and over-treatment. In addition, different surveys can lead to different answers, so the best advice is to consult with your healthcare provider about your individual situation and relevant risk factors. An annual mammogram for women over 40 is still a good guide. The CA 27.29 is a blood test, a tumor marker, specific for screening for breast cancer. Other ways to boost your chances of not getting breast cancer and improve your overall health:

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    What Is Cancer And How Does It Occur

    Cancer is actually a group of diseases that begin in the bodys basic units of life the cells. There are trillions of cells in the human body that combine to form skin, muscle, bone, breast and blood. In normal cell behavior, cells grow and divide to produce more cells as needed. After a limited number of divisions, the cell is programmed to die, replaced by new, younger cells. What happens, however, when cancer develops, is a loss of control in normal cell growth. In simple terms, cancer is the overgrowth of abnormal cells. Over time, these abnormal cells form a mass of tissue a growth or a tumor that invades and destroys normal tissue. These abnormal cells can also spread throughout the body, resulting in metastatic cancer.

    Research continues on the many causes of cancer, a complex disease that develops as a step-by-step process before it becomes lethal. What researchers know for certain is that while exact causes of many cancers are not yet known, both external and internal factors play a role in cancer developing, including genetics, aging, lifestyle choices, exposure to carcinogens and infections.

    What Are The Different Types Of Breast Cancer And Its Different Stages

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    In breast cancer, knowing where the tumor is located, its size, type and stage, are extremely important in understanding treatment and outcome. Types of breast cancer are categorized depending upon how they look under the microscope. Some may also be combinations of different types. For details visit the National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society.

    As a general guideline, breast cancer is categorized as:

    • Ductal carcinoma in situ refers to abnormal cells found that havent invaded surrounding tissue.
    • Lobular carcinoma in situ abnormal cells contained within a lobule of the breast but havent invaded surrounding tissue.
    • Invasive ductal carcinoma also known as infiltrating and capable of traveling to other parts of the body. About 70 percent of invasive breast cancers are this type.
    • Invasive lobular carcinoma less common than IDC starts in milk-producing lobule and invades surrounding tissue.

    Like many cancers, breast cancer is divided into stages:

    • Stage O localized hasnt yet spread.
    • Stage I – an early stage of invasive breast cancer has not spread beyond the breast.
    • Stage II tumor can vary in size and has spread to the lymph nodes but is still contained within a certain region.
    • Stage III a locally advanced cancer tumor may be large.
    • Stage IV metastatic cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

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    How Can A Person Who Has Inherited A Harmful Brca1 Or Brca2 Gene Variant Reduce Their Risk Of Cancer

    Several options are available for reducing cancer risk in individuals who have inherited a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 variant. These include enhanced screening, risk-reducing surgery , and chemoprevention.

    Enhanced screening. Some women who test positive for harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants may choose to start breast cancer screening at younger ages, have more frequent screening than is recommended for women with an average risk of breast cancer, or have screening with magnetic resonance imaging in addition to mammography.

    No effective ovarian cancer screening methods are known. Some groups recommend transvaginal ultrasound, blood tests for the CA-125 antigen , and clinical examinations for ovarian cancer screening in women with harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 variants. However, none of these methods appear to detect ovarian tumors at an early enough stage to improve long-term survival .

    The benefits of screening men who carry harmful variants in BRCA1 or BRCA2 for breast and other cancers are not known. Some expert groups recommend that such men undergo regular annual clinical breast exams starting at age 35 . The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend that men with harmful germline variants in BRCA1 or BRCA2 consider having a discussion with their doctor about prostate-specific antigen testing for prostate cancer screening starting at age 40 .


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