Getting tested for the KRAS-variant
Who should consider getting testing for the KRAS-variant?
Women with the inherited KRAS-variant have an elevated risk of an independent second cancer.4 Knowing if you have the KRAS-variant helps you and your doctor decide the best screening and management strategies to minimize that risk.
If you have a family history of cancer, knowing your KRAS-variant status helps you understand your familial cancer. The inherited KRAS-variant is 20x more common than the much more well-known BRCA variant,17,18 so if you are BRCA-negative, the KRAS-variant may explain why cancer runs in your family.
If you test positive, you can share this information with your family members who can then decide if they would also like to be tested.
During menopause, you go through a natural process that reduces the amount of estrogen in your body. Also, if you have an oophorectomyiThe surgical removal of one or both ovaries., your body’s estrogen levels will drop. Estrogen can protect individuals with the KRAS-variant7 from developing cancer, so knowing if you have it puts you in the best position to make informed choices about estrogen replacement therapy that can reduce your risk for certain cancers.
Receiving and interpreting your KRAS-variant results
Once your results are ready, you will need to discuss your results with a physician. You can talk to your doctor or you can make a virtual one-on-one appointment with an OB/GYN or nurse practitioner.
“I have the KRAS-variant but I've never had cancer.”
Knowing you carry the KRAS-variant provides you and your doctor with powerful information that can be used to help minimize your risk of cancer.
- If you are perimenopausal, menopausal or are having your ovaries removed, you can help prevent cancer by maintaining healthy estrogen levels through hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and you’ll need to discuss that with your doctor.7
- Work with your doctor to get higher level breast cancer screening (e.g. a breast MRI or ultrasound in addition to regular mammograms).
- Continue gynecological screening of your ovaries, and consider the option to have outpatient surgery to remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries if and when you and your physician think it is most appropriate.
- If you are planning to have a hysterectomy, you may want to speak with your doctor about removing your ovaries at the same time.
- If you smoke, it’s especially important to consider strategies for stopping, as smoking further elevates your risk for cancer.
- Actions you can take depending on your age:
- In your 40s and 50s
- Consider higher-level breast cancer screening, such as breast MRIs, in addition to annual mammograms.
- If having a hysterectomy consider ovary removal with follow-up HRT.
- Discuss hormone replacement therapy while you are still peri- menopausal with your doctor to help protect against cancer.
- Consider ovary removal after menopause.
- In your 60s
- Continue ongoing gynecological care.
- Continue on hormone replacement therapy.
- In your 70s and beyond
- Use your KRAS-variant status to continue breast and gynecological screening.
- In your 40s and 50s
“I have the KRAS-variant and I have been diagnosed with cancer.”
Your cancer diagnosis could be associated with this genetic difference1-7 Together with your physician, you can now use the information in several ways to protect your health and inform your decision making going forward.
- Your body will respond uniquely to cancer therapy, and you can be directed to the best treatment options for you.22,23
- You may be at an elevated risk of an independent second cancer,4 so it is important to discuss the best screening and management strategies with your physician to minimize this risk.
- Tell your family members, so they can also be tested for the KRAS-variant. Your children only have a 50% chance of inheriting the marker.
“I don't have the KRAS-variant and I've never been diagnosed with cancer.”
- If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer (your family is a HBOC family) and you are also negative for BRCA, your test suggests that you might not have inherited a genetic risk for cancer.
- If you do not have other known cancer-causing mutations, your test result indicates you are at the same or lower risk of developing ovarian, breast or lung cancer than the general population.
“I don't have the KRAS-variant but I've been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer.”
- A negative test result does not mean that there is no genetic explanation for your cancer. It only indicates that it was not the KRAS-variant.
- If you do not have other known cancer-causing mutations, you do not need to worry about a poor treatment response to platinum due to the KRAS-variant.