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BRACAnalysis Gene Testing

There are many risk factors for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. One risk factor is a family history of either of the diseases. When a woman has a relative who has had one or both of these cancers, there’s a chance the family carries a gene mutation that puts the woman at higher risk of one day developing breast or ovarian cancer. BRACAnalysis gene testing is conducted to verify that risk.

Early detection is so important when it comes to cancer care and women’s health. It has been proven to save lives. Identifying a gene mutation through BRACAnalysis can help a woman be proactive with her health and catch the cancers before they have progressed.

This gene testing involves a blood test, in which a small sample of blood is taken and checked for mutations in the genetic code of BRCA1 and BRCA2. The test can tell you whether one of these mutations runs in your family and estimate your risk of breast or ovarian cancer.

Common Questions About BRACAnalysis

Should I undergo BRACAnalysis gene testing?

This type of test is not necessary for every woman. You may want to consider gene testing if:

  • You were diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50, or ovarian cancer at any age.
  • You have a mother, aunt, sister, grandmother, cousin or daughter who was diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50, or ovarian cancer at any age.

What’s involved in the process for a BRACAnalysis?

After talking with your doctor, you will sign an informed consent form before undergoing the test. A small blood sample will be taken and shipped to Myriad Genetics, the company that conducts BRACAnalysis gene testing. Results will be shared with you by your doctor within about two weeks.

What will happen if the test shows I do have the mutation?

Your doctor will work with you to develop a plan suitable to you and your circumstances. You will most likely have many options to choose from, some of which may include:

  • Increased surveillance, such as monthly breast self-exams, annual clinical breast exams, annual mammograms, and/or annual transvaginal ultrasound and CA-125 tests for ovarian cancer screening.
  • Preventive drug therapy, which help reduce risk in high-risk women.
  • Preventive surgery, such as a mastectomy (removal of the breasts) or a oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries)

If I do have the mutation, should my other family members be tested, too?

The decision to undergo BRACAnalysis gene testing is up to you and your family, but testing could help your family determine whether they carry the gene mutation, too. They may get tested and find out they do not carry the gene and gain valuable peace of mind, or they do carry the gene and should therefore consider a proactive approach mentioned above.

Is the BRACAnalysis gene test covered by insurance?

It is very unusual for a health insurance plan to not cover BRACAnalysis gene testing. More than 90% of tests receive coverage.

For more information or if you have additional questions related to women’s health, review our Women's Health FAQs now.

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