7 doctors weighed in:

What are the pros and cons of getting the brca breast genetic test, if you are just curious about your risks?

7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Barry Rosen
Surgery
3 doctors agree

In brief: $$$$

First and foremost, it is not a good idea to get brca tested if you do not have a strong family history of breast +/-ovarian ca, since the probability is very low and insurance will not cover this ~$3000 test.
If you do qualify, it is wise to understand your options if you are brca(+) before the test--there is no point in knowing this if you do not feel comfortable with the options at present.

In brief: $$$$

First and foremost, it is not a good idea to get brca tested if you do not have a strong family history of breast +/-ovarian ca, since the probability is very low and insurance will not cover this ~$3000 test.
If you do qualify, it is wise to understand your options if you are brca(+) before the test--there is no point in knowing this if you do not feel comfortable with the options at present.
Dr. Barry Rosen
Dr. Barry Rosen
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Carlos Encarnacion
Gospel truth.
Dr. Judy Mouchawar
Preventive Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Be cautious

Genetic testing for curiosity should be undertaken with caution.
If interested in testing, first see a geneticist to understand all of the pros and cons of testing. In general: pros= better understanding of cancer risk which can then be used to make a cancer prevention plan. cons =expensive ($1500-$4000), potential for life insurance discrimination, anxiety, guilt, uncertainty, family tension

In brief: Be cautious

Genetic testing for curiosity should be undertaken with caution.
If interested in testing, first see a geneticist to understand all of the pros and cons of testing. In general: pros= better understanding of cancer risk which can then be used to make a cancer prevention plan. cons =expensive ($1500-$4000), potential for life insurance discrimination, anxiety, guilt, uncertainty, family tension
Dr. Judy Mouchawar
Dr. Judy Mouchawar
Thank
Dr. Maulik Shah
Clinical Genetics

In brief: Many

Pros including knowing your risks and developing possible prevention strategies to reduce that risk.
Also testing can inform about risks for other cancers like ovarian cancer and breast cancer in men. The cons are that the test is expensive and often not covered by insurance if you dont meet criteria. You have to be sure you want to know the risk as it can also impact your mental health

In brief: Many

Pros including knowing your risks and developing possible prevention strategies to reduce that risk.
Also testing can inform about risks for other cancers like ovarian cancer and breast cancer in men. The cons are that the test is expensive and often not covered by insurance if you dont meet criteria. You have to be sure you want to know the risk as it can also impact your mental health
Dr. Maulik Shah
Dr. Maulik Shah
Thank
Dr. Devon Webster
Internal Medicine - Oncology

In brief: It's misleading

Most breast cancer (85%) has nothing to do with the brca gene.
So if you test negative, you may have a false sense of safety. If you test positive, you will have to consider having your breasts and ovaries removed. The risk of a mutation in brca1 is ~1 in 300, and for brca2 it's ~1 in 800. This is not a general screening test. Talk to a genetic counselor to really understand the pros and cons!

In brief: It's misleading

Most breast cancer (85%) has nothing to do with the brca gene.
So if you test negative, you may have a false sense of safety. If you test positive, you will have to consider having your breasts and ovaries removed. The risk of a mutation in brca1 is ~1 in 300, and for brca2 it's ~1 in 800. This is not a general screening test. Talk to a genetic counselor to really understand the pros and cons!
Dr. Devon Webster
Dr. Devon Webster
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Jane Van Dis
Board Certified, Obstetrics & Gynecology
14 years in practice
47M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors