Should You Consider Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer?

| Updated: November 27, 2018
 
 

“I recommend that people not get into their head, ‘I need this specific type of test’ from what they read, because it really is a complex decision about what test should be done,” says University of Washington geneticist Robin Bennett. She also notes, “I think that a big barrier that people often feel is worry that they’re going to be discriminated against [if they have genetic testing], but there is a federal law called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act that protects people, that says this is not a preexisting condition.”

Bennett recommends you should consider genetic testing if you:

• Are 45 years old or younger and have had breast cancer (which would allow your

family members to know if they are at risk)

• Are 50 years old or younger and have had two primary breast cancers (one in both breasts or two sequential cancers)

• Have a personal or family history of ovarian cancer

• Are male and have had breast cancer

• Are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and have a personal or family history of breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer

• Have a family member who has tested positive for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation

• Have a family member who has had triple negative breast cancer