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Should you get a BRCA test?

reviewed 10/25/2018

The breast cancer gene

Should you get a BRCA test?

If you’re concerned about hereditary breast or ovarian cancer, you might be wondering if you should be tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations that can put you at higher risk for cancer. Use this tool to get an idea about whether genetic testing is right for you.

Do you have two or more close relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?

If you answered "yes." A close relative is defined as a parent, sibling or child. If two or more close relatives have had breast cancer, you are at increased risk. This is especially true if a relative was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 or younger. Be sure your doctor has your full family medical history.

If you answered "no." That’s good. Having a parent, sibling or child who has had breast cancer would increase your risk for breast cancer.

Do you have a male relative who has had breast cancer?

If you answered "yes." Having a male relative who has had breast cancer puts you at increased risk for having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Make sure your doctor has this information, including the age your relative was diagnosed.

If you answered "no." That’s good news. Having a male relative who has had breast cancer would increase your risk for having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Has anyone in your family been diagnosed with ovarian cancer?

If you answered "yes." In that case, you’re at higher risk for having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. This may be especially true if one of your relatives had both ovarian and breast cancer.

If you answered "no." That’s good. Having relatives with ovarian cancer means you have a higher risk for having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. This may be especially true if one of your relatives had both ovarian and breast cancer.

Are you of Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish descent?

If you answered "yes." People of Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry have a higher risk for having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. This is especially true if you have a close relative who has had breast or ovarian cancer.

If you answered "no." People of Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry have a higher risk for having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. This is especially true if they have a close relative who’s had breast or ovarian cancer.

Results

Genetic testing is a deeply personal decision. Go over your answers with your doctor or a genetic counselor, and be sure to ask any questions that came up in this assessment. Together, you can decide what the right next step is for you.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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