Genetic testing where no family member with breast cancer can be tested
As there are no living relatives in your family diagnosed with breast cancer who would like to have genetic testing, it's not possible to check whether or not a faulty gene was the likely cause of their breast cancer.
However, it's now possible for other eligible relatives without breast cancer to have genetic testing. Here's the process if you decide to have genetic testing as the first member of your family.
You'll be able to have genetic testing to look for a faulty breast cancer gene so long as you have at least one in 10 (10%) chance of having a gene fault. This test is called mutation searching.
If you choose to have genetic testing, you'll be offered genetic counselling first. A blood sample will be used to check for faulty breast cancer genes.
The laboratory should provide the results of your test within eight weeks. It may take a little longer than this before you receive your result in an appointment at the genetics clinic. Waiting times may vary, for example in Wales tests can take up to 16 weeks to complete. Check with your genetics specialist if the waiting time for results is not clear.
Under certain circumstances, for example if you are taking part in a trial or want the results to help you make decisions about your treatment, you might receive your results sooner than this.
What the results mean:
If you're found to carry a known fault in a breast cancer gene, other members of your family might be eligible for genetic testing too.
The first step will be for interested relatives to visit their own GP. Some genetics clinics allow patients to get in touch directly, so you may wish to ask your genetics clinic if this is a possibility for your relatives.
If relatives are eligible and decide to have genetic testing, they will need to have genetic counselling first. A blood sample will be used to check whether or not they have the same gene fault as you.
The laboratory provides the results of the test within two to four weeks. It may take a little longer than this before they receive their result in an appointment at the genetics clinic – they may want to check with their genetics specialist if the waiting time for results is not clear.
What the results mean: