The Choice to Get Tested

Undergoing genetic testing is a powerful way to take charge of your health. There are lots of reasons to get tested, and knowing what to expect and who to talk to throughout the process will help you make informed choices that are right for you.

Reasons to Get Tested

Learn more about the different risk factors that should inform your decision whether to undergo genetic testing and find out how you can assess your own risk.


Tiffany’s mom and aunt were both diagnosed with breast cancer before they turned 50.

If you have a significant family history of certain cancers, genetic testing helps you:

  • Identify if you carry a mutation that may increase your risk
  • Decide on a plan for proactively managing your risk
  • Find out if your family’s cancer history is even tied to genetics

Genetic testing showed that Stacey’s sister carries a PTEN mutation. Knowing that this genetic mutation runs in her family made Stacey’s decision a lot easier.

If you already know a family member carries a mutation, genetic testing:

  • Helps identify if you have the same mutation
  • Helps other family members make their own decisions about getting tested

Amanda is curious to find out if her ovarian cancer is linked to a known gene mutation.

Testing can be a good choice even if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. For many women, genetic testing helps answer other big questions.

  • Is your cancer linked to an inherited mutation?
  • Do you have a mutation that puts you at higher risk for other types of cancer?
  • Do you have a mutation that impacts your treatment options going forward?
  • Are your family members potentially at increased risk for the same cancer you’ve had?

Rachel’s Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry places her at higher risk for a genetic mutation – 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jewish women carry a BRCA mutation.

If you already know you’re at higher risk for genetic mutation, testing can:

  • Identify whether you carry the known mutation
  • Help you develop a personalized risk management plan
  • Help other family members understand their own risks

Being of Ashkenazi Jewish decent does not guarantee insurance will cover genetic testing but, when considered in conjunction with other factors, it can help build a strong case.

What to Expect

As you decide whether to pursue genetic testing, you’ll want to think about collecting family health history, who to talk to and even things like health and life insurance. It helps to understand your options and what considerations you should take into account so that you can go into the process knowing exactly what to expect.


“I took 5-7 years to make the decision to undergo genetic testing. I thought about it all the time: about what would happen if I wanted a family down the line, will I get breast cancer because I have a strong family history, and if I do find out if I have the BRCA gene, what am I gonna do? I met with a genetic counselor about a year ago and she took me through the process and explained things. That really eased my worries.”


Meet People Who Can Help

Learn more about the people who can help you make your decision and find out how you can get support from women who have had similar experiences. We’ve got you covered with a list of questions to help get the conversation started.