What does testing involve?

Genetic counselling

If you are considering being tested for a BRCA1/2 gene mutation, guidance recommends pre-test counselling with a genetics counsellor. This allows you the opportunity to discuss the potential risk and benefits of BRCA1/2 genetic testing, the chances of finding a mutation, the implications for you and your family, and the different types of test results.

You should also have the chance to ask questions to help you make the decision about whether or not you wish to be tested for a BRCA1/2 gene mutation.

The appointment lasts around 40 minutes, and it will consist mainly of a discussion about your personal and family history of breast and ovarian cancer.

There will also be a discussion about the pros and cons of getting tested, and what would happen next in the event of both a positive and negative outcome.

The genetics counsellor will then work out whether you have a significant risk of carrying a BRCA1/2 gene mutation and, if you do, you will both make a final decision as to whether testing is right for you.

How is the test conducted?

BRCA1/2 genetic tests are usually conducted using blood samples. A sample of your blood will be taken and sent to a specialist lab where the test will be conducted.

Usually you will have the results after around eight weeks. You can discuss with your genetics specialist how you would like to receive the results and s/he will be available to answer your questions to make sure you understand the implications of your test results.