I have a strong family history of breast cancer and have always worried about my chances. The past 3 generations of women on my Dad's side have had breast cancer and just last week, a close family friend was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. So naturally this has been on my mind a lot recently.
I am 28 years-old and diligently schedule my yearly well-woman exam to stay proactive, however I want to do more and to truly advocate for my health. I have inquired about getting screened for a mammogram, but fear being exposed to the radiation too young and am uncertain if my insurance would cover it.
Not all organizations agree on mammogram guidelines, but the recommended age is around 40-50 years old. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force mammogram guidelines recommend women begin screening at age 50 and repeat the test every two years, while The American Cancer Society and other organizations recommend screening begin at 40 and continue annually.
How can I learn more about genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2? I have some specific questions:
- Is there a age restriction or recommendation?
- Should I contact my insurance company or physician?
- How much does the testing typically cost (both covered and not)?
- Where do they perform the tests?
- What is involved in the testing and how long does it take?
- When can I expect results?