Individuals or families with a history of breast or ovarian cancer may choose to undergo BRCA1 & BRCA2 genetic testing to understand their risk of developing one of these conditions and help decide what risk-reducing measures to consider.
Having a breast cancer genetic test is not something that anyone should take lightly and needs careful consideration before proceeding. This is why at BreastHealth UK we offer a four stage process that includes:
A questionnaire based on the Tyrer-Cuzick Algorithm – a risk estimation model
Genetic counselling - to provide a personal breast cancer risk assessment and support in the decision to undergo genetic testing
A breast cancer genetic test via a simple saliva test
Follow up with a genetic counsellor and screening/management recommendations
The type of testing required will depend on the circumstances of the individual and, as a result, BreastHealthUK offers three different tests:
Comprehensive BRCA1 & BRCA2 genetic testing can be useful in families where there is a significant family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer and genetic testing has not previously been performed.
This test examines the whole of both genes for changes using 2 different methods. Where possible it is preferable to test a living relative who has been affected by breast or ovarian cancer first. When this is not possible an unaffected person can have genetic testing if they wish. Genetic testing usually takes several weeks and can be performed on a saliva sample.
When the mutation is known within a family it is possible to offer predictive testing to relatives. This test looks for the mutation which is the cause of the cancer in the family. Usually if a relative does not have the mutation, their risk of breast cancer is the same as the general population risk.
If the relative does have the mutation, unfortunately they will have a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
In Jewish families there are 3 common BRCA mutations. Therefore the first step (and often the only test needed) is to look for these 3 mutations. If this test is normal, families with a very strong history of breast and ovarian cancer may go onto full BRCA testing if the individual/family wishes.
If you would like further information and advice on BRCA1 & BRCA2 and breast cancer genetic testing please contact our team today.
Alternatively, you can find further information on our BRCA Mutations page.