Women and men with the BRCA gene mutation have a greater risk of developing several types of cancers, including breast, ovarian and prostate, among others. It is estimated that 90 percent of carriers do not know they are at risk until someone in their family gets cancer.
“For every carrier we identify, 50 percent of that patient’s blood relatives will also be carriers,” says Beth Y. Karlan, MD, vice chair of women’s health research in the UCLA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of cancer population genetics at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Karlan is principal investigator for a research initiative, BRCA Founder Outreach Study (BFOR), to develop a new model to increase access to BRCA genetic testing, at no cost to participants. Participants in the initiative, men and women, must be 25 years of age or older, have at least one grandparent of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage and should not have been previously tested. Ninety-five percent of American Jews are Ashkenazi, and Jews of Ashkenazi descent are 10 times more likely to carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 inherited mutation than the rest of the population.
“Democratizing access to genetic testing provides knowledge that can reduce cancer risks and improve outcomes for those with a BRCA mutation,” Dr. Karlan says.
For more information or to refer a patient for enrollment, go to: bforstudy.com