BUDDY CHECK 7: Father discusses BRCA gene mutation with family after genetic test

Published: Sep. 7, 2018 at 7:59 PM CDT
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Breast cancer is a disease often correlated with women. However, for Mark Boeck, he took the lead role in his family of bringing up the topic, after being tested for a genetic mutation that can put people at higher risk for developing the disease.

Boeck's mom battled cancer, not once, but three times. Including two rounds with breast cancer.

After she decided to get tested for the BRCA gene mutation, Mark and his sister's decided to do the same.

"Mine came back and tested positive for it," Boeck explained. "Then we shared the information with our daughters-we have four daughters. And, our oldest daughter who's 17 now, she decided that she wanted to get tested, and tested positive as well for it."

A positive test for the BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation means a person has an increased risk of developing certain cancers. But, it doesn't say whether or when an individual will actually develop cancer.

Boeck said he and his wife discussed how to bring up the difficult topic with their children. But agreed, knowledge was power.

"I would rather know my families medical history than not, because there's all sorts of preventative things that you can do know, if you're going to get cancer, you're going to get cancer, right? And, it's better to catch it early than to not know and all of a sudden you find out you have two months to live or something," Boeck said.

Jenna Boeck is preparing to leave for her first year of college, and agreed with her parents, that being proactive was the best possible option.

"I think it's important to be aware because otherwise the first time finding out about it could be once you have cancer. And, If you take advantage of the test, there's so many different options that you can look at as far as preventative measures go," Jenna Boeck said.

Getting tested for the BRCA mutation is relatively simple. It's typically done with either a blood or saliva sample and performed by a genetic counselor.