Genetic testing for faulty breast cancer genes

Genetic testing can’t prevent breast cancer developing, but it can give an indication of how likely it is that a person will develop breast cancer.

It can sometimes confirm which people in a family have an increased risk of breast cancer and which do not. However, sometimes the results are inconclusive, meaning that they fail to find the cause of a family’s increased risk of breast cancer.

Hear Genetic Counsellor, Andrew Cuthbert explain how genetic testing works and what happens when the test results are inconclusive.

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Care you can expect

If you are eligible for genetic testing:

  • Someone with appropriate training should discuss genetic testing with you.
  • You should be offered genetic counselling and information on genetic tests.
  • You should have genetic counselling before your test and the results should be explained after your test.
  • Genetic testing for your family should begin with a person diagnosed with breast cancer being tested first, where possible. Usually, their results should be available within about two months.
  • If a faulty gene is identified in a family and more relatives can be tested for this fault, their results should usually be given to them within about two to four weeks.
Who can have genetic testing?
Where does it take place?
How does genetic testing work?
Which gene faults are tested for?
Does genetic testing always find a faulty gene?
Related information
What do you need to consider when choosing whether or not to have genetic testing?

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Download or print Breast Cancer Now’s factsheet on genetic testing

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Get personalised information about the likely steps of genetic testing for you and your family

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