NWWC Newsletter
MARCH 2014
What Our Patients Have Said...

Dear Dr. Sadowski: I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciated your compassion and understanding during my recent visit. I am glad I have access to the wonderful doctors and medical staff at Northwest Women's Consultants." - Sincerely, Lauren
Featured Article
Information on BRCA Gene Test for Breast Cancer

For years people have been afraid of getting the "Big C." Cancer comes in all forms and often affects people unsuspectingly. Over the years, researchers have made great strides in producing medications that work, and tests that reveal whether or not a person has cancer, or if cancerous cells are present in the body.

People with a family history of cancer may be at risk for certain types of cancer. This applies to both men and women. If BRCA1 and 2 genes are present, the risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer is high. Men are at risk for developing breast cancer and other forms of cancer as well, if either of these mutation strands is present.

How to Detect BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation?

Genetic testing can detect whether or not the BRCA1 and 2 are present in the body. Genetic testing serves as a preventative treatment method, which allows doctors to intervene, if the presence of one or both of these strands is found.

What exactly are BRCA1 and BRCA2?

BRCA1 and 2 produces tumor suppressant proteins, which are found in the human genetic structure. These two proteins aid in repairing damaged DNA structure and keeping the cell genetic duplication structure intact. When one of the genes are altered or damaged, the protein cannot reproduce itself, and therefore the process that leads to protecting the cells is greatly affected, which leads to an overload of genetic alternations and eventually cancer.

Terms Used

BRCA1 is the official medical terminology name for the "Breast Cancer 1 gene," as it is in its early stage. The BRCA1 gene plays a major part in regulating the activities of the embryo development and of the other surrounding cells. When damaged cells are present, the BRCA1 sends out instructions to repair the damaged DNA. This process involves the participation of normal cells containing the genes RAD1 and BARD1. The BRCA gene is part of a group of genes known as "RNF" or ring type zinc fingers. This gene is where DNA structure such as individual characteristics is stored.

BRCA2 gene is part of a family or group of genes referred to as "FANC" or Fanconi Anemia Complementation groups. There are over 800 mutation strands in the BRCA2 structure, which puts individuals in a high risk of developing breast cancer. As these cells mutate, they put normal cells at risk of being exposed to the genetic alteration.

Clinical Testing: "What is Involved" and "What are the Benefits and Risks?"

The screening and testing for ovarian and breast cancer is a multi 2-step process. Testing is highly recommended when family history suggests a high possibility of inherited BRCA mutation cells. If BRCA testing is positive, the results are used to implement a treatment management solution.

Genetic BRCA1 and BRCA2 DNA testing is done by submitting to a simple and painless blood test. The blood test is used to aid in identifying a pattern or locating altered mutated cells. Positive results identify the individual as being part of a "Known mutation" gene, which is most likely found in the family history.

However, the testing is more complete and accurate if all family members are included in the genetic testing process. The testing begins with everyone submitting to a sample blood test. Knowing whether or not BRCA1 or BRCA2 is present in the body or in the family tree helps individuals make more informed decisions, regarding their health and treatment.

This information also helps physicians in deciding which treatment methods to pursue and which treatment methods to avoid. Individuals with a negative test result should still veer on the side of caution, as a negative result does not completely dismiss the possibility of non mutated cells, which may be lurking inside the cells. Prevention is the best and often the cheapest intervention. Therefore, submitting to a simple blood test can reveal whether or not breast and or ovarian cancer are part of a family's inheritance or not.
Are there any foods I should avoid?

It is recommended that pregnant women do not eat lunch meats or hot dogs unless reheated until its steaming hot. They also should not eat soft cheeses (goat, feta, blue, gorgonzola, brie, queso fresco) unless the package label indicates that the cheese is pasteurized.

Pregnant women can (and should!) eat fish -- in moderation (no more than 12 ounces per week). Avoid tilefish, shark, and mackerel, as these have higher mercury content. Albacore tuna has a higher mercury content than canned light tuna. Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant women only eat 6 ounces of albacore tuna per week.

Pregnant women should avoid raw or undercooked foods (sorry, no raw sushi!).

For more answers, click here to visit our frequently asked questions page.
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Northwest Women's Consultants, SC
1630 W. Central Road
Arlington Heights, Illinois 60005
(847) 394-3553

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for medical care and advice of your physician. The dispensing of this information should in no way be construed as establishing a doctor-patient relationship.