BRCA Testing: What You Need to Know

What is the BRCA gene? BRCA1 and BRCA2 play a big role in preventing cancer. They belong to a class of genes called tumor suppressors, which ensure that breast, ovarian, and other types of cells don’t grow or divide too rapidly or uncontrollably. BRCA testing checks for mutations in either gene, and can help people decide … Read more

Dana-Farber Patient Benefits From ‘Growing Toolbox of Treatments’

When Dana-Farber launched its new Center for BRCA and Related Genes in August 2020, it was with patients like Janice Dolnick in mind. Dolnick’s cancer journey had already been a long one before she came to Dana-Farber for a consult in 2018. Over the previous 21 years, she’d been through two rounds of breast cancer … Read more

People with Lynch Syndrome Should Take Aspirin to Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk, Study Suggests

Patients with Lynch syndrome, who have an elevated risk of colorectal cancer, can reduce their risk by taking daily aspirin — and the protective effect persists for many years, according to the latest definitive study. This evidence comes as a result of a clinical trial in which all subjects were followed for at least 10 … Read more

When Inherited Condition Leads to Two Cancers, Young Survivor Finds Hope at Prevention Center

As one of three family members with the same first and last name, John E. Duggan found individuality through initials while growing up — becoming universally known as “Jed.” Having survived both stage III colon cancer and thyroid cancer before age 30, he is refusing to let another familial tie get him down. Duggan has MUTYH-associated polyposis (or MAP), … Read more

Breaking the Binary: Building Transvisibility in Cancer Genetic Counseling

This article was written by Donna Vatnick, BS, clinical research coordinator in Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention. Historically, cancer risk has been confined to the binary: male versus female. After the discovery of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in the mid-90s, testing of these genes was most often recommended to women. The substantially … Read more

Should I Be Screened for Pancreatic Cancer?

While screening for pancreatic cancer is not recommended for people at average risk of the disease, screening is recommended for those who carry an inherited genetic mutation associated with pancreatic cancer or have a family history of the disease. (Mutations are abnormal stretches of DNA that alter how cells grow and divide.) People with an … Read more

What is CHEK2?

Medically reviewed by Huma Rana, MD CHEK2 is the abbreviated name of the gene called checkpoint kinase 2 (gene names are written in italics). The gene provides cells with instructions for making a protein known as CHK2, which becomes active when DNA within the cell is damaged or strands of DNA break. CHK2 and other … Read more

What is Genomic Testing?

Genomic testing, a newer field to genetics, refers to the process of observing an entire genome (genes that make up an organism) of an organism; for example, the human body. A person has about 25,000 different genes that are made up of about 3 billion DNA units. What is the difference between genomic and genetic testing? … Read more

I Have BRCA1 or BRCA2. What Should I Do?

If you carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations, you may be at an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers — but it’s important to understand that cancer genetics are complex and other factors influence risk as well. Depending on certain factors like family history, it may be advisable to seek proper genetic counseling … Read more