Breast Cancer Awareness Dallas
Approximately 1 in 500 people carry an inherited change, or mutation, in one of two genes that significantly increases their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In fact, it has been estimated that 7 to 10% of breast cancer cases can be attributed to a BRCA gene mutation. Listed below are a few personal and/or family history features that are considered "red flags" for hereditary cancer and may increase the likelihood that one of these mutations is present:
- Personal history of breast cancer before age 50
- Personal history of ovarian cancer at any age, but especially before age 60
- Personal history of both breast and ovarian cancer
- Breast cancer at any age, with a family history of breast cancer before age 50 and/or ovarian cancer at any age
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
If I am carrying a BRCA mutation, what is the benefit of knowing?
If a mutation is present, the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is very high. If cancer has already been diagnosed, the risk of developing a new primary tumor is also increased, as is the risk of developing ovarian cancer. These risks can be reduced dramatically when the appropriate medical interventions are taken. In addition, if you carry a mutation your family members can choose to be tested as well since they have a chance of carrying the same mutation and may also be at risk of developing cancer. Knowing this information enables you and your health care providers to individualize your medical care in order to significantly reduce your risk of cancer.
If I test positive, will I be discriminated against by my job or insurance company?
Some patients express concern that the results of genetic testing may somehow negatively impact their current coverage or prevent them from being able to receive coverage in the future. A federal law called HIPAA protects those covered by group plans from discrimination based on genetic test results. Texas and most other states also have similar laws in place that protect against health insurance and employment discrimination based on genetic test results. If appropriate for you, the benefits of genetic testing far exceed the risk of discrimination. Please ask us for more information if this is of concern to you.
Does health insurance pay for testing?
Most plans cover genetic testing for appropriate patients. Occasionally there will be some out of pocket expense incurred in the form of co-insurance. If your expected co-insurance amount is greater than $400, the lab will contact you for permission to proceed. You will then be billed by the laboratory after your results are released to you and your physician. If necessary, the laboratory will work with you to set up a reasonable and convenient payment plan.
If you would like additional information on BRCA testing, please visit www.myriadtests.com or call our office at 972-596-8383.