Get Informed Advice

You’ll find tons of amazing resources – from expert voices to peer perspectives – as you’re deciding to undergo genetic testing. Often, these different professionals will work together to provide you with the best information and support. Remember, the people you talk to all have different backgrounds, different points of view – and different ways of helping you.

Healthcare Providers

  • Includes physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other medical professionals.
  • Can order tests directly from genetic testing labs.
  • May help identify risk factors, help you interpret results and may rely on genetic counselor or the testing lab for support.
  • Clinical geneticists, medical doctors specializing in genetics, educate about genetic conditions, order tests, explain results, and discuss treatment options.

Genetic Counselors

  • A specialist with an expertise (and graduate degree) in medical genetics and counseling.
  • Offer risk assessment, education and support to both individuals and families. Often facilitates ordering of tests and disclosing results, in conjunction with a healthcare provider.
  • Serve as patient advocates and help interpret results.
  • Often come from diverse backgrounds, including biology, nursing, psychology.

Therapists or Counselors

  • Focused on ensuring patients have opportunity to express experiences and expectations.
  • Some therapists specializing in medical issues will collaborate with genetic counselors to provide personalized care.
  • Can also help with talking to family.
  • Help with emotions before and after undergoing genetic testing.

What Should You Ask?

Finding someone to talk to is one thing, but being sure that you are asking the right questions… is another. Some questions that you should consider include:

  • Am I a candidate for genetic testing? Should I consider it?
  • Do you have any good ways to spark discussions with my relatives about our medical history?
  • Based on my family history, what’s my chance of testing positive for a genetic mutation? What’s my projected risk for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer?
  • If someone in my family has tested positive for a known genetic mutation, what are the chances that I’m also a carrier?
  • What type of test do you recommend?
  • What’s our plan if I test positive, negative, VUS?
  • What type of cancer screenings do you recommend for me if I decide not to get tested?

We’ve gone ahead and created a full list of questions to help guide your conversations with your healthcare provider or genetic counselor.

QUESTIONS TO ASK

Support From People Like You

For women at increased or high risk, a network of peers offering support and advice can mean the world.

Bright Pink’s PinkPal® matches women at increased or high risk with another woman with similar risk and experience. The program’s personalized mentoring helps individual women understand their risk and develop strategies to detect or prevent breast or ovarian cancer.

LEARN MORE AT BRIGHTPINK.ORG

Bright Pink’s Outreach Groups provide monthly group support opportunities. Each facilitated Outreach Group helps women at increased or high risk develop face-to- face connections with other women experiencing similar challenges.

LEARN MORE AT BRIGHTPINK.ORG

Myth

A genetic test will tell you if you have (or will develop) cancer.

Reality

A genetic test does not detect or predict cancer. However, a confirmed gene mutation will tell you if you are at higher risk for developing cancer, which gives you the opportunity to be proactive in reducing your risk.

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Myth

A negative genetic test result means you won’t ever get cancer.

Reality

Only 10-15% of cancer is inherited. The majority of cancers are sporadic without a known genetic link. So a negative result (meaning no identified gene mutation) does not mean you will never develop cancer.

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Myth

Your health insurance or employer can use your result against you.

Reality

The federal Genetic Information and Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) protects you from medical insurance companies and employers discriminating against you on the basis of genetic information. Many states have additional protective legislation in place.

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