Breast Cancer Genetic Testing in Williamsport, PA
Genetic testing is a blood test available for women to determine if they have a genetic defect (increasing their risk of breast cancer. Both men and women can have this defect and can pass it down to their children.
Your doctor may recommend genetic testing for breast cancer if:
- Your risk of getting breast cancer is higher. With a genetic defect, a woman has up to a 50% chance of getting breast cancer before the age of 50, compared with only two percent in the general population.
- Your risk of developing ovarian cancer is higher. With a genetic defect, a woman has up to a 40% chance of having ovarian cancer by age 70, compared with only 2% in the general population.
Are You a Candidate for Breast Cancer Genetic Testing?
Genetic testing is considered especially for women with a certain family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer. A woman may be at a high risk if she has a family history of:
- Breast cancer at a young age
- Breast cancer in both breasts
- Ovarian cancer
- Male breast cancer
- Two or more close family members with cancer at any age
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
As part of the process, there is a discussion on all options available to the patient if she decides to have the test and it comes back positive. If the patient decides to have the test, blood is drawn and results are typically back in two weeks. If the genetic testing results are negative in a family with a known genetic defect, the patient has only the same risk as the general public for developing these two cancers. However, if the cancer in the family has not yet been explained by a genetic defect, the family members remain at increased risk for these cancers and should be monitored more closely.
When the results are positive, care options are reviewed with the patient. Some options offered to patients at a high genetic risk for breast cancer are:
- Take medicine such as Tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer
- Have surgery to remove both breasts and/or ovaries
- Have more frequent breast exams and mammograms
- Discontinue birth control medicine
As part of our philosophy of prevention and early detection, UPMC offers genetic testing for breast cancer in Williamsport, PA, and the surrounding areas.