Latinas are the second most common ethnic group to carry BRCA1 deleterious mutations, after Ashkenazi Jewish women, among all patients with breast cancer.
However, Latinas are less likely to receive genetic counseling education, referrals, and testing services and have the least awareness of genetic testing compared to non-Hispanic whites and other minority populations. Research indicates that despite their low awareness, Latinas have high interest in participating in genetic counseling and testing. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in Latina women.
BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene 1) and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene 2) are genes that produce proteins that help repair damaged DNA. People who inherit harmful mutations in one of these genes have increased risks of several cancers, most notably breast and ovarian cancer, and tend to develop cancer at younger ages than people who do not have such a mutation.
- See “Latinas’ Breast Cancer Genetic Disparities Require More Focused Counseling and Testing” by Lyndsay Anderson, Sara Gómez-Trillos, Vanessa B. Sheppard, Kristi Graves, Claudia Campos, Nathaly Gonzalez, and Alejandra Hurtado-de-Mendoza on the Oncology Nursing Society Voice website (March 27, 2020)
- For more about BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, see “BRCA Gene Mutations: Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing” on the National Cancer Institute website