• Dr. Dec

Who needs genetic testing?

Harmful mutations in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes are the biggest hereditary risk factor to developing breast and ovarian cancer. Certain individuals with a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, prostate, or pancreatic cancer may benefit from genetic testing to determine their own and family members’s risk.

Key criteria for testing include a personal history of or having a 1st or 2nd degree relative affected by one of the following:

  • Female breast cancer diagnosed before age 50

  • Ashkenazi Jewish heritage and breast cancer at any age

  • Triple-negative breast cancer (ER- PR- HER2-) diagnosed before age 60

  • Two or more breast cancers in one individual

  • Invasive ovarian or fallopian tube cancer, or primary peritoneal cancer

  • Male breast cancer

  • Exocrine pancreatic cancer

  • Metastatic prostate cancer

  • High grade prostate cancer and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry

  • Relatives of individuals with a known pathologic BRCA mutation

Additionally the American Society of Breast Surgeons has recommended that genetic testing be made available to everyone with a personal history of breast cancer.

These guidelines are based on National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology and the American Society of Breast Surgeons Consensus Guidelines on Genetic Testing for Hereditary Breast Cancer.


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