Breast Cancer (BRCA) Gene Test
Why It Is Done
If your family history or personal history indicates a high chance for breast cancer, a BRCA gene test is done to check your chance of developing this cancer.
A BRCA gene test does not test for cancer itself. It is used to help women who have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer find out if their chance is high enough to think about prevention measures before cancer develops. These measures include:
- Having screening tests (such as Reference clinical breast exams Opens New Window, Reference mammograms Opens New Window, and Reference MRIs Opens New Window) more often and starting them at an earlier age.
- Taking medicines such as tamoxifen or raloxifene.
- Having a preventive Reference mastectomy Opens New Window.
- Having their ovaries removed (oophorectomy).
Men with a family history of BRCA changes also may want to be tested to find their chance of breast cancer.
For a woman who has ovarian cancer, or for a man or a woman who has breast cancer, results from a BRCA gene test can help other family members know their chances of these and perhaps other cancers. If the person with breast or ovarian cancer has normal BRCA gene test results, family members probably would not benefit from the BRCA genetic test.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 28, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology