Why men should get tested for the BRCA gene

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 10:22 AM CDT
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(CNN) - The BRCA genetic mutation puts people at risk for certain cancers.

Most people associate it with breast cancer, but the gene carries risks for both men and women.

At age 61, Steve Kalister’s father lost his battle to an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Because of his father’s battle, Kalister decided to get genetic testing done.

”I’ve long had concerns about what my risk might be,” he said. ”I’m 50 years old now and certainly want to be around for my family.”

His tests came back BRCA 2 positive.

Having that gene mutation increases his risk of certain cancers including prostate, pancreas and breast.

”Hereditary cancer can be inherited from your mom or your dad, whether you’re a male or a female. So, for example, if you’re a male who’s coming in to see me, you can inherit cancer risk from your mother,” Lindsey Byrne, a licensed genetic counselor at Ohio State University College of Medicine, said.

Byrne says it is important to know your family history on all sides.

If there is cancer in your family, she suggests talking to a doctor to see if genentic testing is right for you.

”It helps us to know who’s at higher risk and when to start screening,” Byrne said.

Since his results, Kalister has changed his lifestyle to limit his risks and makes sure he gets routine tests done yearly.

”It really is kind of a knowledge is power thing for me,” he said.

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