Why You May Want to Have Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

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Up to 14 percent of breast cancers — almost 35,000 cases each year in the United States — are associated with a hereditary predisposition to cancer. Early detection is crucial for breast cancer survival, and while many advances have been made in cancer genetics, genetic testing is only effective when its used to diagnose the disease early.

At the 2018 North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in San Diego, researchers outline genetic testing options for breast cancer and present a profile of who should undergo these tests. According to a press release from the NAMS, Dr. Holly Pederson from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio is encouraging health care providers to proactively identify patients at increased genetic risk for breast cancer and recommend genetic counseling and testing.

“It is imperative that we identify those patients with a hereditary predisposition to breast cancer as early as possible” stated Dr. Pederson. “If patients are concerned about the cost of genetic testing, they can be reassured that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act identifies BRCA testing as a preventive service. Medicare provides coverage for affected patients with a qualifying personal history, and 97% of commercial insurers and most state Medicaid programs provide coverage for hereditary cancer testing.”

Here are the guidelines for breast cancer genetic counseling from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of 27 cancer centers in the United States.

Sourced from: The North American Menopause Society