Breast Cancer Prevention - Genetic Tests

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Does your family have a history of breast or other cancers? Have any relatives been tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes?

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How helpful are BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic tests in identifying women at risk?

In special circumstances, genetic tests can be very helpful both in identifying exceptionally high-risk patients and reducing the level of concern for others. We also now know that the presence of one of these genetic defects does not cause cancer in every patient.

Before genetic tests are conducted, individuals being tested must have thorough counseling. A clear understanding of the limitations of the tests and the problems they may pose must precede the testing. The patient must know the meaning of the possible results, whichever way they may turn out, before testing. They should also have settled on a plan for each possible outcome of the test results. Often, the best way to evaluate a potential genetic risk is to test a relative who has already been diagnosed with breast cancer. If the relative's genetic testing (which must cover a large number of possible mutations) proves negative, then there is no need to perform genetic testing on the concerned individual. But the concerned individual should still undergo close monitoring with breast examinations and mammograms. If the test is positive on the relative, then that specific mutation is the only one that needs to be checked in the concerned individual and the other family members.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: chris, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

My aunt had breast cancer on my moms side and had both breasts removed and my mother has been diagnosed with triple negative receptor breast cancer. I do not know if they ave had the brca1 or 2 genes.

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