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What does the genetic test entail?

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Ask-the-Expert Online Conference

Question from SCole: My sister, my grandmother, and one aunt have died from breast cancer. I have had a non-cancerous lump removed. Should I have my girls (ages 16 and 14) tested? What does the genetic test entail?
Answers - Carol Cherry, M.S.N., R.N., A.P.R.N., B.C. Genetic testing is always more effective or informative if you start with the person affected with cancer first. So before deciding if your daughters should be tested, if there is a living affected relative with cancer, that would be the best person to test if they are willing. The process should involve a counseling session with a genetics professional. That could be a doctor, genetic counselor, or nurse with special training who can explain all of the risks and benefits and work with you to understand payment options and insurance coverage. The test is typically done by a commercial laboratory, called Myriad Genetics. One tube of blood is drawn and sent to that laboratory. Many insurance companies cover the testing, if you meet family history criteria established by the insurance company.
Terri McHugh The typical length of time for test results to be received is 3 weeks.
Carol Cherry, M.S.N., R.N., A.P.R.N., B.C. In some academic centers, the genetic testing can also be done in the context of a research study.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference Breast Cancer Risk and Your Family featured Terri McHugh, D.O., and Carol Cherry, M.S.N., R.N., A.P.R.N., B.C. answering your questions about genetics and breast cancer, and how your family could be affected.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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