Know more about your breast cancer risk: Test for BRCA and beyond
One of the best ways to know your breast cancer risk is by testing for mutations in the breast cancer genes. The most common breast cancer genes are BRCA1 and BRCA2, although there are also many other genes associated with the risk of breast cancer. Knowing sooner if you have a change in your DNA will empower you with more options to reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Who should consider genetic testing?
Cancer can be more common in some families than others. Quest Diagnostics Hereditary Breast Cancer Panel tests for 16 genes predominantly associated with breast cancer, including BRCA1 and BRCA2. These tests are available for adults of all ages, but it’s best to talk with your doctor or genetic counselor to decide if genetic testing is right for you.
Getting tested can also give important information to your family. It can help your family members understand their risk for cancer.
What does genetic testing involve?
Test specimens can be collected using saliva, blood, or fibroblast. It starts with talking to your doctor. After you have a lab order for testing, make an online appointment at your nearest Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Center.
What does a positive result mean?
The presence of a breast cancer gene mutation means your chances of developing breast cancer are higher. BRCA gene mutations also cause a higher risk of developing other types of cancer.
Having a gene mutation does not mean you have cancer–but early detection does give you and your doctor more options to potentially prevent breast cancer altogether. That’s why it’s important to test: Knowing sooner is your advantage.
What else helps reduce my breast cancer risk?
With or without a gene mutation, you should still consider risk-reducing lifestyle choices.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it helps if you:
Maintain a healthy weight
Exercise at least four hours a week
Get enough sleep each night
Limit or avoid alcoholic drinks
Avoid exposure to cancer-causing chemicals
Talk with your doctor about medication risks
Understand your family history