Breast Cancer Home > Breast Cancer and Genetics
If you are thinking about genetic testing, you should be informed, verbally and in writing, about the risks of getting tested, as well as what the test can and cannot tell you. You should also sign a form to show that you have been given this information and want to be tested.
After reading the consent form, you can decide if testing is right for you. You may also choose to delay the decision if perhaps this is not the best time for you to be tested.
If you are thinking about genetic testing, be sure to talk with your doctor, genetic counselor, or other healthcare professional, and make sure he or she takes the time to fully answer these questions. In addition, you may want to get more than one opinion.
- What are the chances that a gene alteration is involved in the cancer in my family?
- What are my chances of having an altered gene?
- Besides altered BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, what are other risk factors are there for breast cancer?
- Are all genetic tests the same? How much does the test cost? How long will it take to get my results?
- What are the possible results of the test?
- What would a positive result mean for me?
- What would a negative result mean for me?
- How might a positive test result affect my health insurance? Life insurance? Employment?
- Do I want to submit my test results to an insurance company? If yes, will they pay for the testing?
- Where will my test results be placed/recorded? How might this affect me? Who will have access to them?
- Will having the test do anything to make me change my current health practices?
- What are my reasons for wanting to be tested?
- What type of cancer screening would be recommended if I don't get tested?
Other questions to think about and discuss with your family include:
- What effect will the test results have on me and on my relationships with my family members if I have an altered gene? If I don't have an altered gene?
- Should I share my test results with my partner? Parents? Children? Friends? Others? How will they react to the news, which also affects them?
- Are my children ready to learn new information that may one day affect their own health?