American Cancer Society states that 1 in 8 women (13 percent of women) develop breast cancer. Women with an inherited BRCA gene mutation have an 80 percent chance of developing breast cancer. Less than 3 percent of women develop ovarian cancer. But, 40-50 percent of women with the BRCA gene mutation will develop ovarian cancer by the age 70.
The genetic test is easy, but expensive. (Several hundred dollars.) Not all insurance covers it. The test is a simple blood test, and can determine if the person with cancer has the mutation. If they do have the mutation, their relatives may have it also, increasing the risk of cancer.
If you do get tested, you’ll meet with a genetic counselor, and then go off for some blood work. Know that it takes a month before you get the results back. I actually forgot about the test—in my mind I was going through the motions, and “knew” it would come back negative. Uh. . . (I tested positive, and my ovaries were removed.) If you agree to share this information with your family at large, you’ll be given a letter to give certain female family members. Then, it’s up to them if they’ll be tested or not.