What are the Benefits of Genetic Testing?
Genetic testing offers a way for you to find out if you have an increased risk of certain diseases, including breast cancer. For example, women with a BRCA gene mutation have a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In order to protect your health, it’s important to understand the benefits of genetic testing and determine whether or not you should have it done.
Good Candidates for Genetic Testing
How do you know genetic testing is right for you? There are certain risk factors that could increase your chance of having breast cancer or other diseases that are linked to genetic mutations. You should think about having BRCA gene testing done if you have one or more of these risk factors, which include the following:
- Previous case of breast cancer at a younger age
- Previous case of triple negative breast cancer, bilateral breast cancer or ovarian cancer
- Family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer
- Family members with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
- Two or more family members with a history of breast cancer or pancreatic cancer
Avoid Unnecessary Screenings and Tests
If the results of your genetic testing show that you do not have a genetic mutation that increases your risk of breast cancer or other diseases, this helps you avoid undergoing tests and screenings that you do not really need. It also helps you avoid having routine screenings done more often than is necessary. You might also have peace of mind knowing that your results show that you do not have an elevated risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer or other diseases.
Time to Weigh Your Options
If genetic testing shows that you do have a mutation that raises your risk of breast cancer or other diseases, this gives you time to consider your options. Unless you are already experiencing signs of a genetic-related disease and need treatment, you can take your time exploring different ways to lower your risk of breast cancer or other diseases. For example, you can lower your risk of breast cancer when you have a genetic mutation by electing to have your breasts surgically removed or by making sure that you have more frequent screenings and exams done to detect this disease early.
Opportunity to Reduce Disease Risk
Finding out that you have a genetic mutation that puts you at a higher risk of breast cancer or other diseases does not guarantee that you will end up with this condition. However, it does give you time to make lifestyle changes and take other important steps to reduce your risk of getting one of these diseases, such as improving your diet, losing excess weight and exercising on a regular basis. You can also schedule medical appointments or have screenings done more often if you know that you have a higher risk of having certain diseases linked to genetic mutations.
If you would like more information on genetic testing or if you want to find out if you’re a good candidate for it, please contact Neighborhood Radiology Services. We offer breast cancer genetic testing for women in Long Island, Queens, and Manhattan who might be at risk.