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A Note About Genetic Testing
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A Note About Genetic Testing

A small proportion (less than 3%) of women who are not eligible for STAR by the Gail model are still at high risk for breast cancer. Some of these women may have a genetic mutation, which is not measured by the Gail model. Changes in certain genes, such as those known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, increase the risk of breast cancer. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are particularly common among Jewish women. If many women and even men in a family have had breast cancer, especially before the age of 35, it may be a sign that a genetic mutation is present.

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer may choose to have a blood test to see if they have inherited a change in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Women who are concerned about an inherited risk for breast cancer should talk to their doctor. The doctor may suggest seeing a health professional trained in genetics. Genetic counseling can help a woman decide whether testing would be appropriate for her. Also, counseling before and after testing helps women understand and deal with the possible results of a genetic test. Counseling can also help with concerns about employment or about health, life, and disability insurance.

This Web site is a product of the
National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP).