You probably know by now that there is genetic testing to determine your risk of a certain breast cancer. If a woman has a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, she has an 80% risk of developing that hereditary cancer and it just takes a simple blood test to find out. A new commercial is promoting the blood test to help raise awareness that it is available. Genetic counselors, though, say it is also creating some confusion because not every woman who has a family member with breast cancer needs that test.
So, since only a small percentage of the overall breast cancer cases are tied to that gene, who would be a good candidate for that genetic test? Dr. Joseph Lucci, a genetic oncologist, says, "A family history of two or more first degree relatives have breast cancer especially if it occurs at an early age or if there is a woman with breast and another woman with ovarian cancer in the family".
It takes a week or two to get results. If it turns out a woman has the genetic predisposition, then she knows she needs to be monitored closely with breast and ovarian cancer screenings.