Limited Spots Remain For At-Home Test For Breast & Ovarian Cancer Risk – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minnesota is a woman who has tested positive for BRCA gene.

Heather Mastel got the information through an at-home DNA kit she learned about a WCCO story.

"It is scary because you do not know what to do," she said.

Mastel always feared this day would come.

"She was pretty young, she was 35," she said.

At a young age, the breast cancer test positive for the BRCA gene, a mutation that greatly increases the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Mastel knew she should be tested too.

"I was trying to figure out what they were doing when they were doing something about the BRCA 1 gene," she said.

The story featured a free, nation-wide clinical trial that makes a family history. Mastel was one of more than 1,000 women in Minnesota and western Wisconsin who signed up to learn if she carried the cancer gene.

Mastel tested positive.

"It was really emotional and I was really unhappy for a couple of days," he said.

Other diseases, there are steps to reduce their risk of getting cancer, such as surgery to remove breasts and ovaries. Experts believe, now that women in Minnesota and western Wisconsin know they have the gene, lives will be saved.

"Mutations have been discovered and women are taking steps to reduce their risk, so that is an incredible outcome," Kathleen Gavin, of the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, said.

Gavin said after the story aired on WCCO, 5 to 6 percent will test positive for the mutation. Because many will opt for surgery, it's possible.

"I would say probably 10 to 15 years, that's phenomenal, and in some cases maybe earlier," Gavin said.

Mastel is taking steps to reduce her cancer risk, first eliminating her chances for ovarian cancer.

"This summer at the beginning of June I am having a hysterectomy," she said. "I feel like it's one of those cancers you do not know if you have it. There is no testing for it. You do not know if you have a little scarier so I decided to do that first. "

Eventually she will also undergo a double mastectomy.

"I'm red flagged at my clinic now so I have mammograms twice a year until I have a mastectomy," Mastel said.

So many women from Minnesota and western Wisconsin signed up after our original story, the study had to hire additional genetic counselors. There is still plenty of time, but only a few hundred spots remain.

To see if you qualify, click here.

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