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What is the BRCA test?

This blood test checks for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Mutations in these genes can raise the risk for certain cancers, especially breast cancer (in both men and women) and ovarian cancer in women. In both men and women, BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations raise the risk for other types of cancers.

The BRCA genes are the most common cause of gene-related breast and ovarian cancers. In the U.S., 5% to 10% of all breast cancers and 10% to 15% of all ovarian cancers in white women are related to BRCA mutations.

You may choose to have the BRCA test if you have a personal or family history of breast cancer and want to learn more about your risk. Insurance companies may cover the cost of this test if you have a family history of cancer. If the test shows that you have a gene mutation, you can take steps to protect your health. This may include having breast cancer screenings more often.

A positive test generally means you have a known mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which means you have a higher risk of getting certain cancers. However, not all people with this mutation will get cancer.

Click here to learn more about the BRCA gene 1 and BRCA gene 2 tests.