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As part of your treatment planning, your doctor may recommend a genomic assay (or test). Tumor genomic assays analyze a sample of a cancer tumor to see how active certain genes are. The activity level of these genes affects the behavior of the cancer, including how likely it is to grow and spread. Genomic tests are used to help make decisions about whether more treatments after surgery would be beneficial.

If your doctor suspects that the breast cancer is due to an inherited genetic mutation, he or she may recommend genetic testing. Genetic testing is done on a sample of your blood, saliva, or other tissue and can tell you if you have a mutation, or abnormal change, in a gene that is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. These mutations run in families.

Although many insurance plans cover genomic and genetic tests, there may be out-of-pocket costs as well. If you can’t afford these costs or you don’t have insurance, you still may be able to access these tests. You can learn more about each test, including information about insurance coverage and financial assistance, in our Screening and Testing section.

Genomic tests

Genetic tests

Mutations in genes such as BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, and many others can run in families and increase the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Health insurance plans often do cover testing, although it’s important to understand why type of test your doctor is recommending and also confirm coverage. For more information, see Genetic Testing Facilities and Cost.


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