Do you have to get genetic testing for the breast most cancers gene?

Each month, we ship a few of your greatest questions on diet, well being, and extra to our panel of specialists to reply. The query, “A number of individuals in my household have had breast most cancers. Ought to I get genetic testing?” was answered by Megan Frone, licensed genetic counselor, Nationwide Most cancers Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

When you have a number of individuals on the identical aspect of the household with breast most cancers or with different varieties (similar to ovarian or pancreatic), with uncommon cancers (similar to most cancers in each breasts or breast most cancers in males), or most cancers identified at an early age, you will have an elevated threat for breast and different cancers. 


Say you do determine to get screened—it is a easy blood or saliva take a look at. It is essential to see an authorized genetic counselor. (You’ll find one close to you at page/find-a-gc-search.) Many individuals are aware of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which sign better threat for breast and different cancers, similar to ovarian, however there’s a complete world of different genes that might imply the identical.

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As a result of we’re discovering new genes on a regular basis, the outcomes—and what you need to do with the knowledge—are usually not all the time as clear-cut as with the BRCA genes, the place we’ve got years of analysis on therapy outcomes. (In that case, administration could embrace yearly breast MRIs or risk-reducing surgical procedures like a bilateral mastectomy.) A genetic counselor will likely be present on the newest information on which genes to check for primarily based on your loved ones historical past and the best way to interpret the generally murky outcomes.


And earlier than you even take the take a look at, the genetic counselor can focus on privateness issues. A 2008 regulation prevents discrimination primarily based on DNA by employers and medical health insurance suppliers, however the regulation doesn’t cowl incapacity, life, or long-term-care insurance coverage. She can assist you make an knowledgeable determination.

This text first appeared in Girls’s Well being.