BRCA Breast and Ovarian Cancer FAQ
A few basic questions are answered below. If you need more information, please schedule an appoint with Dr. Erhard.
I already know I have a family history of cancer. Why should I get tested?
Testing for inherited risk of cancer helps you and your doctor understand your risk so you can make the best choices for preventive medical care. Knowing your family history is an important first step, but testing can give you a more accurate picture of your inherited risk.
Does Dr. Erhard recommend testing for everyone?
While testing is the most accurate way to determine your inherited risk of cancer, only people who have breast or ovarian cancer in their family or personal history need to be tested. If breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family, let Dr. Erhard know.
How do I get tested?
Ask Dr. Erhard if testing is right for you. If so, she will draw a small amount of your blood and send it to Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc. for analysis.
Will my health insurance pay for the test?
Most health insurance plans pay for BRCAAnalysis®. More than 90% of tests receive coverage, and the average reimbursement is more than 90%. Contact your health insurance company to learn more.
How long does it take to get the test results?
Dr. Erhard will let you know your test results as soon as they are available as early as two weeks from the date your test is started.
Does a positive test result mean that I have cancer?
No. BRCAAnalysis® does not tell you if you currently have cancer. Your test results tell you about your inherited risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Does a positive test result mean that I will develop cancer?
No. BRCAAnalysis® does not tell you whether you will develop cancer. A positive test result tells you that you have an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Is BRCAAnalysis® appropriate for men as well?
Men should consider testing if they have a personal history of breast cancer, a family history of breast or ovarian cancer or a family member with a BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation. Although male breast cancer is rare, men who carry BRCA mutations are more likely to develop breast cancer and prostate cancer. Men with a BRCA mutation also have a 50 percent chance of passing it on to their children whether or not they’ve been diagnosed with cancer.
If my test result is positive, what are the risks?
A positive test result tells you that you have an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as shown below:
BRCA Mutation Increases the Risk of Cancer
If your test result is positive, take action now to reduce your chances of developing cancer. Work with Dr. Erhard to create a plan for medical management going forward, and help your family members by sharing your test result with them.
If my test results are positive, how can I reduce my risk of cancer?
If your test results are positive, you and Dr. Erhard have a number of options to discuss, including:
Prescription drugs such as tamoxifen to reduce the risk of breast cancer
Oral contraceptives to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer
Increased surveillance (check-ups and tests) from an earlier age
Remember, not all options may be right for you. Work with your treatment team to put together a plan.
If I’ve already had breast cancer, what would a positive test result mean?
People with a BRCA gene mutation are at a greater risk of developing a new cancer, either in the ovaries or the breast. Knowing your BRCA status can help you take steps to reduce this risk or detect another potential cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.
If no one in my family has had ovarian cancer, do I still have to worry if I test positive?
A woman who carries a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation is at an increased risk for both breast and ovarian cancer, even if there are no known cases of ovarian cancer in the family. Fortunately, there are effective options for reducing the risk of ovarian cancer.
Is testing covered by insurance?
Most health insurance plans pay for BRCAAnalysis®. More than 90% of tests receive coverage, and the average reimbursement is more than 90%.