If your family has a bad history of ovarian or breast cancer, you need to talk to your doctor about the same as you can be at a great risk of developing any of these types of cancer. You should discuss with your doctor about the required genetic counseling and testing. Genetic counseling and testing can help understand the risk of developing cancer. Doctors do not recommend genetic testing for women in general, but they want you to consider the same only if you are subjected to the following.
• A close member has breast cancer before 50 years of age or in both breasts
• A couple or more of your close family members had cancer (breast or ovarian)
• A family member had both ovarian and breast cancer
• You have an Eastern European Jewish inheritance
Of course, genetic testing cannot really tell you if you will develop cancer or not, but it can indicate if there is a high risk of cancer. In case, you at high risk, you can receive the necessary treatment to help reduce the risk. Genetic counseling means a trained health professional will talk with you about the family’s health history. There are some diseases like breast cancer and ovarian cancer that run in the families. The genetic counseling process will help you decide whether you need to get genetic tests done.
Genetic tests will help the doctors analyze for any changes in your genes. In case, you have a mutation in specific genes including BRCA1 or BRCA2, you are likely to get breast or ovarian cancer. If you are a high risk of developing breast cancer, you need to take the necessary drugs that will help you lower the risk of cancer. This process is called chemoprevention. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are the two drugs that are approved by the FDA, and these drugs will help you lower the risk associated with breast developing cancer. Of course, there are side effects and risks due to the consumption of these drugs, so your doctor should be consulted about your risk of cancer and the possible prevention options.
When it comes to the cost that is involved in genetic counseling and testing, the services that women who have a higher risk of getting breast cancer should consider getting counseling on BRCA genetic testing and breast cancer chemoprevention. Based on your insurance plan, you will be able to get the counseling at no cost.