BRCA gene test is used to detect BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are genes linked to breast cancer. Mutations in these genes are associated with a greater risk for breast and ovarian cancer. BRCA Gene Testing can be a useful starting point in deciding your next step for cancer treatment and prevention. For patients with cancer, genetic testing can offer indications of the best treatment options.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes that are responsible for DNA replication. They are designed to help protect against cancer. Whenever these genes are mutated it can manifest itself into breast cancer, or ovarian cancer specifically. If there is a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, genetic testing is available to determine if there is a mutation in either BRCA1 and BRCA2. If a gene test suggests that you are at an elevated risk of cancer, you can use this information to inform preventive actions like regular screenings and lifestyle habits.
Why is BRCA Testing performed?This test is ordered to screen for breast cancer. Symptoms include:
- Swelling in the armpit, pain or tenderness in the breast
- A noticeable flattening or indentation on the breast which may indicate a tumor
- Any change in the size, contour, texture or temperature of the breast. A reddish pitted surface like the skin of an orange could be a sign of advanced breast cancer
- Nipple retraction, dimpling, itching, a burning sensation, ulceration, scaly rash
- Unusual discharge from the nipple when not breast-feeding
When to test
Women at the age of 40 years and above should have mammograms every year. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer. All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms linked to breast cancer screening. They also should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away. Some women - because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors - should be screening with MRIs along with mammograms. (The number of women who fall into this category is very small.) Talk with a healthcare provider about your risk for breast cancer and the best screening plan for you.
How do you prepare for a BRCA Gene Test?
No preparation or fasting required. Just bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.
What can you expect during a BRCA Test?
A trained and licensed phlebotomist will bring you into a designated area to draw your blood that will be sent to a lab for analysis. A blood draw is when a medical professional uses a hypodermic needle to collect blood into vials from a vein in your arm. Typically, they will sterilize the area they wish to stick, you will be asked to make a fist, and then a small pinch will be felt to collect the blood sample.
What are the potential costs for a BRCA Test?
In the United States, BRCA testing is usually covered by insurance if the patient meets certain criteria. The criteria varies depending on the insurance plan, and genetic counselors will review the potential costs and insurance coverage with you during your visit with them.
Are there related tests to a Breast Cancer Blood Test?
Since BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can also potentially lead to ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancers, related tests for breast cancer blood tests would be genetic testing that tests for ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, melanoma, and colorectal cancers.
The BRCA Genetic Test is a relatively straightforward blood test. A blood sample is drawn from a vein and then sent to a lab to be analyzed. DNA analysis results typically become available within a week or two. BRCA Gene Testing can be a useful starting point in deciding your next step for cancer treatment and prevention. For patients with cancer, genetic testing can offer indications of the best treatment options. If a gene test suggests that you are at an elevated risk of cancer, you can use this information to inform preventive actions like regular screenings and lifestyle habits.