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Do I need BRCA testing if my mom had breast cancer?

By HERWriter August 27, 2014 - 8:20am
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My mother had breast cancer in her mid 50s and overcame it. Should I consider BRCA testing? How does the BRCA test work? Is it a simple blood test or more complicated?

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Hi Jenny!

Thank you for reaching out to the EmpowHER community with your questions about BRCA testing. I am so glad that your mom is a breast cancer survivor! Kudos to her and your family for overcoming this disease!

In women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, the rate is 1 in 12. “A negative test result in a member of a family in which a disease-associated mutation has been identified should provide great reassurance,” noted Dr. Douglas E. Levy and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. To read the full report in the EmpowHER community click here http://www.empowher.com/breast-cancer/content/genetic-testing-breast-cancer-risk

Even if you test negative for the BRCA mutation, you can still get breast or ovarian cancer. However, doing routine mammograms and self breast exams in my opinion are your greatest defense against this horrible disease. If I were in your shoes, I think I would do BRCA testing for peace of mind.

To answer your question about how it works, DNA (from a blood or saliva sample) is needed for mutation testing. Both you and your mom would be tested. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis and it usually takes about a month to get the test results.

Will you let me know what you decide!



August 27, 2014 - 12:49pm
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