Your results can help drive proactive decisions about your health. No matter what you find out, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, think about a risk management plan and to talk honestly with your family.
It means the genetic test didn’t find a mutation that increases your risk of cancer in the genes that were analyzed. A negative test result doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk for developing cancer. You may still be at risk due to lifestyle factors, family health history, mutations that today’s tests aren’t able to detect, or mutations in genes that weren’t tested.
It means that the test found a mutation that increases your chance of developing certain types of cancer. A positive test doesn’t mean you have cancer and it doesn’t even mean that you’ll definitely develop cancer.
Yes, testing positive for a gene mutation puts you at higher risk than someone your age who tests negative. Your healthcare provider or a genetic counselor can develop a personalized risk management plan that takes both your family health history and personal health history into account.
Your healthcare provider or a genetic counselor can walk you through your results, help create a risk management plan and can also connect you with support groups or other valuable sources of information.
Your healthcare provider or a genetic counselor can help you understand the implications of your test results for your family and whether they should consider testing.
Your test results will probably be added to your medical record, especially in cases where a healthcare provider ordered the test.
But remember, that the Genetics Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) makes it illegal for a health insurance company to deny you coverage or change your premium based on your test results. GINA also makes it illegal for employers to treat you differently if you have a mutation that increases your risk of diseases like cancer.
Sharing your test results can have a big impact on your family, giving them the opportunity to consider their own risks, and potentially consider genetic testing. Remember, though, that testing will always be a personal decision. No two relatives will have the same reaction and a lot of conversation will play out over time.
Need help starting the conversation? We’ve got you covered with some facts to help get things going:
If you test positive for a gene mutation, consider how family members will want to hear and process the news. Some will want to know every detail. Others might prefer to process the news on their own. And some may not want to talk at all. The same holds true if your test comes back negative. Everyone will react in their own way and it can be helpful to work through the various scenarios in advance on your own or with someone you trust.
Knowing your risk can help you make plans for the future. No matter what your results are, it’s important to maintain your health and talk to your healthcare provider about a risk management plan. Your healthcare provider may suggest making lifestyle changes, increasing diagnostic testing, or even undergoing risk-reducing surgeries to lower your risk of breast and ovarian cancer or detect these diseases at early, non-life threatening stages.LEARN MORE AT BRIGHTPINK.ORG