After the test: What’s next?

What if my BRCA test is inconclusive?

BRCA 1/2 genetic testing does not always give a clear yes/no answer. Many different mutations have been identified in BRCA1/2 genes but not all have been linked with an increased risk of cancer. These mutations are known as ‘variants of uncertain significance’ (VUS).

Identifying a VUS means that an abnormality has been found in your BRCA1/2 genetic test, but that based on available information, the specific mutation found has not been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer.

As we learn more about VUS, some might be re-classified as being ‘clinically significant’ and hence associated with an increased risk of developing cancer.

Should your test result show VUS, NICE guideline CG164 1.5.9 says that you should be told of the result, and informed that you can request a review in the future. All VUS results are to be logged on a database in case of future changes that lead to them being found to be mutated (NICE guideline CG164 1.5.10). 

What if I have tested positive for a BRCA1/2 gene mutation?

Please visit the section 'I have a BRCA1/2 gene mutation: How do I manage my risk?'

What if I have tested negative for a BRCA1/2 gene mutation?

If your test results show that you do not carry a mutated BRCA gene you may feel a sense of relief regarding the future risk of cancer. This relief may also extend to knowing that if you have children they are not/will not be at risk of inheriting the family's cancer susceptibility, and the possibility that special check-ups, tests, or preventive surgeries may not be needed.

It is still always important to be aware of the symptoms of both ovarian and breast cancer, and to seek advice from you GP as early as possible if you feel that something is not right, or you are concerned.

These are NHS England guidelines (also followed in Wales). You can download a PDF of this guide containing NHS Scotland guidelines here. If you have any questions please contact Ross@ovarian.org.uk.

Ovarian Cancer Action is committed to preventing cases of ovarian cancer through access to BRCA testing. Click here to find out more about our BRCA Prevention Strategy