Considering Genetic Testing for Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Is Testing Right for You?
This is not a test for cancer: it is a test that can tell you if a higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer runs in your family.
Knowing your risk can help you and your doctor make better, more informed decisions about your health, before cancer has a chance to develop. You should consider testing for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) syndrome if you:
- Breast cancer at age 50 or younger
- Ovarian cancer at any age
- Male breast cancer at any age
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and a personal or family history of an HBOC-associated cancer*
- Two breast cancers in the same person or on the same side of the family
- Triple negative breast cancer at any age
- Pancreatic cancer and an HBOC-associated* cancer in the same person or on the same side of the family
- There are three family members with breast cancer in the same side of the family
- A previously identified BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation in your family
* HBOC-associated cancers are breast, ovarian and pancreatic.
If you think you may benefit from testing, first ask yourself these questions:
Remember, testing is not for everyone. The Be Ready Quiz can help you decide whether it's a conversation you and your doctor need to have.
People with certain factors in their family and personal history may benefit from testing. The Be Ready Quiz can help you learn whether you could benefit from the test. If so, a discussion with your doctor can help you decide whether the test is right for you.
BRACAnalysis® results help women make more informed healthcare decisions—before cancer has a chance to develop. For example:
- A woman who knows she carries a BRCA mutation can start cancer screening at an earlier age. She can also choose options like risk-reducing medications and preventive surgery
- Doctors can help women move forward with the right action plan for their particular risks
- Women already diagnosed with cancer may be able to prevent a second cancer
- Test results can help relatives learn and understand more about inherited risk and how it may affect them
Most health insurance companies pay for testing. More than 90% of tests receive coverage, and the average reimbursement is more than 90%.
Federal and state legislation protects your privacy and prohibits health insurance discrimination based on genetic information. About 200,000 people have been tested in the last 10 years and there are no documented cases of discrimination. There are also many published articles showing that it's really fear of discrimination rather than the reality of discrimination that keeps people from considering testing.
Ready to Take the Be Ready Quiz?
Click here to take the quiz and learn more.
Is Testing Right for You?
"A woman who tests positive can consider taking the drug tamoxifen, which has been found to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by almost 50 percent in women at high risk."
- The National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health