Breast cancer is considered one of the most life-threatening diseases to women all over the world. Women who have the family history of breast cancer are greatly at risk of developing this disease. In order to identify whether you are carrying inherited mutations in your genes, you need to take a genetic test. If you have one of the two breast cancer susceptibility genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2, you are at the high risk of developing breast cancer.
What is the procedure of genetic testing?
Before determining to have a genetic test, your doctor might require a family pedigree to see the possibility of cancer development within your family. By looking at a family pedigree, your doctor can see the genetic makeup of a person’s ancestors and use it to analyze a disease or inherited characteristics of your family.
After examining your family medical history, your doctor will perform a blood test to see whether you’re carrying a breast cancer gene. All of the genes that can possibly lead to breast cancer are still undiscovered. Hence, the doctors can only give you the test result based on the known genes. When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer and their family genetic test is also with the positive result, the family is believed to have a BRCA genes or known mutation.
When should I take genetic mutation test?
In most cases, you need to have a test for BRCA1 or BRCA2 if you have a close relative with breast cancer. Your relatives will need to take the test first so that the doctor could find out from whom the genetic mutation gene run in your family. Additionally, you may have an increased risk of developing a BRCA gene mutation if:
- You have two or more blood relatives such as your mother, sister, aunt, cousin, or daughter with premenopausal breast cancer or ovarian cancer diagnosed at any age.
- You have been diagnosed with breast cancer, especially if it was diagnosed before you reached menopause, and also have a blood relative with breast or ovarian cancer, or if you have cancer in both breasts.
- You have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and you have blood relatives who have had ovarian or breast cancer.
- You are related to someone (male or female) who has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
- You are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and you have blood relatives who have had breast or ovarian cancer, or you have had breast or ovarian cancer.
A genetic test for breast cancer will help you determine whether you have an inherited BRCA mutation or not. If your result is positive, your healthcare provider will help you understand your breast cancer risk. On the other hand, if your result is negative, you don’t carry BRCA mutation. Your doctor will explain further information about genetic testing so that you can decide whether to take.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: January 20, 2017 | Last Modified: January 10, 2017
Genetic testing. http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/genetic. Accessed October 16, 2016.
Breast cancer genes. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/breast-cancer/about/risks/breast-cancer-genes#3U6WhfqIWc7GfjuE.99. Accessed October 16, 2016.
BRCA gene test for breast and ovarian cancer risk. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/brca-gene-test/details/why-its-done/icc-20239559. Accessed October 16, 2016.