Buddy Check 7: Women with breast cancer passing on genetic test

Published: Mar. 7, 2017 at 7:23 PM CST
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The National Cancer Institute recommends that any patients who have a proven mutation in either their BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene, speak with a genetic counselor and receive genetic testing.

But, a recent study finds, many of these women, fewer than 40%, are setting up that genetic counseling session.

"Genetics has grown tremendously in the last five years, and there's a lot more that we can test for than we used to be," Anna Cisler, M.S., C.G.C with Marshfield Clinic said.

A basic blood draw and a few weeks of waiting, produces the results.

"We don't just learn that generally, we learn what specific cancer that they are increased for, how much higher is that risk, and then based on that information we can tailor their care," Cisler said.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that women at higher risk for breast and other cancers, aren't getting genetic testing even if they want it.

About 80% said they'd like it, but only 39% had seen a genetic counselor.

So, why isn't everyone being tested? Insurance can be a factor, but Cisler says it might be more so that patients just don't know about it, or they don't care to.

"Some people simply just don't want to know, and we run into that all the time," Cisler said.