Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

A recent study from the University of Michigan found that genetic testing for breast cancer is underused. Almost half of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who should have genetic testing do not receive it, according to the study.

Having a genetic disposition to breast cancer doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop the disease, but it does put you at a higher risk. Knowing your risk for breast cancer can help you stay ahead of the disease.

Personal and family history can increase the risk for breast cancer

Most breast cancer cases are not inherited. Between five and ten percent of women with breast cancer have a hereditary form of the disease. Half of these cancers are associated with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations.

While a family history of breast cancer doesn’t always mean that you will get breast cancer, it significantly increases your risk for developing the disease. Women at a higher risk for breast cancer should consider a Risk Assessment, and possibly genetic testing.

Risk Assessment and genetic testing for breast cancer can help you determine the treatment and screening methods that are right for you.

Is genetic testing right for you?

Genetic testing analyzes DNA collected from a patient’s cells. The test looks for mutations that could develop into cancer. The Breast Center uses a panel test that looks for BRCA gene mutations, as well as mutations in other genes.

Women at a higher risk for breast cancer should talk to a doctor about Risk Assessment and genetic testing. Some women who are at a higher risk for breast cancer may also be at a higher risk for ovarian cancer and other types of cancer.

Genetic testing isn’t for everyone, but it’s important for the women who would benefit from genetic testing to seek it. Try our one-minute quiz to find out your risk for cancer. Talk to your doctor and ask if Risk Assessment or genetic testing for breast cancer is right for you.

The Breast Center offers Risk Assessment with a registered nurse. Call 479-422-6266 for more information about scheduling a Risk Assessment Appointment.