How to get tested: What’s my entitlement?

BRCA1/2 genetic testing is usually carried out at a genetics clinic and anyone can be referred to a genetic service. You should be offered genetics counselling before you decide whether to be tested.

Click on the statement below that best describes your situation to find out what your entitlement is.

 

I have no personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, but I have a living relative who does and is available to be tested

Entitlements:

Next steps:

  • Your relative should speak to their clinical oncology team about being referred for genetic testing.
  • If they test positive you will be informed and invited to go to your local genetics centre.
  • If they test positive and you do not get contacted then you can go and see your GP and ask for a referral via them by explaining the situation.
  • Download this letter to take with you to illustrate your entitlement (England and Wales).
  • Download this letter to take with you to demonstrate your entitlement (Scotland).
  • If your relative tests negative for BRCA1/2 gene mutations you will not require testing.
  • It is always a good idea to find out about the cancer history in the other side of your family, and seek advice from your GP if you are concerned.
  • BRCA1/2 gene mutations are not just carried on a mother’s side, it is possible for a father to carry the mutation and pass it on to his children too

What does testing involve?
 

I have no personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, I have a relative who does but they are unavailable for testing

Entitlements:

Next steps:

What does testing involve?
 

I have a family member who has already tested positive for a BRCA1/2 gene mutation

Entitlements:

Next steps:

What does testing involve?
 

I have not had breast or ovarian cancer, no known history of either disease and no known BRCA gene mutations in the family

Entitlements:

  • In this situation it is unlikely that you would be eligible for testing under any of the current guidelines.

Next steps:

  • If you have concerns over breast or ovarian cancer then you should familiarise yourself with key information about the disease.
  • If you have concerns about BRCA1/2 gene mutations you should try and find out about any family history of cancer. Make an appointment to see your GP and explain your concerns.

What does testing involve?


What about my children?

You can ask your GP about testing your children if they are under 18 but it is not usually available. If they are over 18, then the GP may prefer that your children go to see the GP themselves.

The GP should be able to discuss this with you and, if appropriate, refer you to the genetics centre for a discussion about your carrier probability (how likely you are to have a BRCA1/2 gene mutation) and whether or not a BRCA1/2 genetic test is the right choice for you.

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.