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BRCA Test May Not Be Reaching Enough Women

BRCA test may not be reaching enough women. (WCCU)

Kathy Hug, assistant athletic director at the University of Illinois, had breast cancer. Knowing she was at high risk of getting it again, she went through BRCA testing. The results came back positive.

"I used that information and said, 'no brainer, I'm getting a double mastectomy. I want life with my husband and my daughter,’" Hug said.

A new study finds less than 20 percent of women with a history of breast cancer will get the test.

"It would tell you if your body is carrying or if your family is carrying a certain mutation that puts a person at high risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer," said Mary VanCleave, a nurse at The Mills Breast Cancer Institute.

Medical experts say knowing that information can be tough, and if it turns out you do carry the breast cancer gene, knowing what to do with that information can be tough as well.

Hug opted for a double mastectomy, but there are other options. Health experts say there are preventative measures doctors can take if you are a carrier. Also, the test could help others.

"It does put a person at risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime and that gene can be passed down through your family,” VanCleave said. “So many people want to know just to be sure their family is protected as best they can."

That's why Hug says she went through with the test.

"I think that's the best thing about knowing is that you're proactive and can make those choices and know ahead of time,” Hug said. “A simple thing most people wouldn't think about [is] getting tested, maybe you should."

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