Once you’ve decided to get BRCA tested, you’ll first want to talk to your doctor, who will help decide if you fit the criteria to receive testing. From there, your doctor can help guide you through the process and even refer you to a genetic counselor. If your doctor isn’t familiar with genetic counseling, there are services that can help find the right counselor for you.
If you have questions about your insurance coverage for BRCA testing, visit our Insurance FAQs.
To test for a hereditary BRCA mutation, your doctor or genetic counselor will collect a blood or saliva sample to test your DNA. This sample will be sent to a lab where a technician will look for mutations in your DNA. The lab will then report the results to your doctor or genetic counselor. This process can take a few weeks.
To test for a somatic BRCA mutation, your doctor or genetic counselor will collect a tissue sample from your tumor to test the DNA. This type of test can only be done in people who have cancer.
Once your doctor or genetic counselor receives the results, he or she will inform you of your BRCA status. At this point, your doctor may suggest next steps, depending on your status.
You now know that you have an increased risk of developing cancer. With this knowledge, you may want to consider scheduling cancer screenings regularly. You’ll also want to know the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, so you know what to look for in the event that you do develop cancer. It’s important to try to catch cancer early before it spreads. When ovarian cancer is found early before it has spread, 94% of women live longer than 5 years after their cancer is diagnosed.
Your doctor may suggest additional testing for your family members and also may consider different treatment options that can target BRCA-mutated cancer cells to treat ovarian cancer.