The counselor can also describe genetic testing to you and explain what the tests might be able to tell you, which can help you decide if genetic testing is right for you. Can drinking alcohol increase the risk of breast cancer? UpToDate. The BRCA gene test isn't routinely performed on people at average risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Then, when her cancer returned, genetic information opened the door to fresh treatment options. Help make it a reality. Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Who Should Be Tested For BRCA? Your doctor might recommend testing for these gene mutations, too, based on your family history of cancer. Our team of expert journalists brings you all angles of the cancer story – from breaking news and survivor stories to in-depth insights into cutting-edge research. According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, breast cancer is among the leading causes of cancer in women. A personal history of breast cancer diagnosed before age 45, A personal history of breast cancer diagnosed before age 50 and a second primary breast cancer, one or more relatives with breast cancer, or an unknown or limited family medical history, A personal history of triple negative breast cancer diagnosed at age 60 or younger, A personal history of two or more types of cancer, A personal history of breast cancer and one or more relatives with breast cancer diagnosed before age 50, two or more relatives diagnosed with breast cancer at any age, one or more relatives with ovarian cancer, one or more relatives with male breast cancer, or two or more relatives with prostate cancer or pancreatic cancer, A personal history of breast cancer and Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry, A personal history of prostate cancer or pancreatic cancer with two or more relatives with BRCA-associated cancers, A history of breast cancer at a young age in two or more blood relatives, such as your parents, siblings or children, A relative with a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, One or more relatives with a history of cancer that would meet any of these criteria for gene testing, Feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness or depression, Concerns over possible insurance discrimination, Strained family relationships over learning of a familial genetic mutation, Difficult decisions about preventive measures that have long-term consequences, Feelings of inevitability that you'll get cancer, "Survivor guilt" if your family has a known gene mutation that may affect your loved ones (if you receive a negative result), Uncertainty and concern that your result may not be a true negative result (if your results show you have a gene variant of uncertain significance). New models are being developed to help determine risk of cancer with ambiguous results. Researchers have discovered, and are continuing to discover, other abnormal genes that are less common than BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2 but also can raise breast cancer risk. American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. Most people who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Some expert groups have developed guidelines for which women (and men) should consider genetic counseling and possibly testing for BRCA gene mutations. Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care like they've never experienced. While testing can be helpful in some cases, not every woman needs to be tested, and the pros and cons need to be considered carefully. Consider having a friend or family member accompany you to help ask questions or take notes. The guidelines primarily involve family history and personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, and sometimes, a personal history of other cancers. All rights reserved. BlackJack3D / Getty Images Two Studies Shed Light on New Gene Mutations . Ashkenazi Jews and breast cancer: the consequences of linking ethnic identity to genetic disease. A positive result means you carry a gene mutation that increases your risk of cancer and you can work with your doctor to manage that risk. Or you may be at high risk of hereditary cancer if your family carries a high-risk gene mutation that researchers haven't yet identified. With all of this in mind, it becomes clear that decisions about further diagnosis and further treatment are very complex and life-changing, requiring input and advice from experienced medical professionals who have seen the outcomes of cancer as well as the outcomes of treatment. When Jean Niven learned she had ovarian cancer, her desire to find a knowledgeable, compassionate physician led her to Mayo Clinic. AskMayoExpert. In some cases, other sample types are collected for DNA analysis, including saliva. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. That said, it's important to remember that a number of different genes associated with the breast cancer have been identified, not all of which can be detected by these do-it-yourself kits. In addition, a negative test result may mean that you don't have the particular gene(s) the at-home test looks at, but that doesn't mean that you don't have another gene that affects your risk. Pruthi S (expert opinion). You are still considered at increased risk for the cancers that run in your family. You and your family members are more likely to have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation if your family has a strong history of breast or ovarian cancer. A woman with a negative test result might assume she doesn’t have to be concerned about her risk, when in fact she might still have a different BRCA mutation. You can work with your doctor to decide whether testing for gene abnormalities besides BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2 is warranted. Just be aware that you will need medical, social, and emotional support if you get positive results. The names given to the mutations are often based on their location within the chromosome, the scientist or lab in which they were discovered, or a description of the gene’s normal function. Finally, your family may have another hereditary cancer gene mutation that can be detected with other genetic tests. Genetic testing in your family members who have not had breast or ovarian cancer is unlikely to be helpful, unless another relative is known to have a mutation. © 2020 Breastcancer.org - All rights reserved. There are a number of other known breast cancer genes, and there are even other BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations linked with the disease., While useful to a degree, this important fact must be kept in mind. Ⓒ 2020 About, Inc. (Dotdash) — All rights reserved. Testing can cost a lot, and it might not be covered (or might be covered only partially) by some health insurance plans. When you have access to a test that can predict your chances of getting a serious disease—like breast cancer—it may seem hard to pass up that opportunity. A Cost-Effectiveness Evaluation of Germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 Testing in UK Women with Ovarian Cancer. Aug. 2, 2019. Since many genetic tests only look for one specific gene mutation, the counselor can often help determine which mutations to test for. In these situations, it's not always clear what the results mean for your cancer risk. Although the BRCA gene test can detect the majority of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you could have a gene mutation that the test wasn't able to detect. Genetic testing can be done to look for mutations in some of these genes. People who inherit mutations in these genes are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer compared with the general population. But if there’s no reason to suspect a specific gene change, testing will likely look for many different mutations. Until we do, we’ll be funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention. Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. Many women who develop breast cancer are the first in their families to have the illness. What kind of impact does stress have on breast cancer? Taking charge of your own health is an empowering step. They can review your family history in detail to see how likely it is that you have a family cancer syndrome such as HBOC. Testing for changes in these genes is done less often, but it might be considered in some situations. Genet Med. For example, a test that looks for a small number of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations has been approved by the FDA. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you have a higher risk of getting breast cancer yourself.