What are some of the risks of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer risk?
The direct medical risks, or harms, of genetic testing are very small, but test results may have an effect on a person’s emotions, social relationships, finances, and medical choices.
People who receive a positive test result may feel anxious, depressed, or angry. They may choose to undergo preventive measures, such as prophylactic surgery, that have serious long-term implications and whose effectiveness is uncertain.
People who receive a negative test result may experience “survivor guilt,” caused by the knowledge that they likely do not have an increased risk of developing a disease that affects one or more loved ones.
Because genetic testing can reveal information about more than one family member, the emotions caused by test results can create tension within families. Test results can also affect personal choices, such as marriage and childbearing. Issues surrounding the privacy and confidentiality of genetic test results are additional potential risks.
- What are BRCA1 and BRCA2?
- How do BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations affect a person's risk of cancer?
- Do inherited mutations in other genes increase the risk of breast and/or ovarian tumors?
- Are specific mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 more common in certain populations?
- Are genetic tests available to detect BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, and how are they performed?
- How do people know if they should consider genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations?
- How much does BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation testing cost?
- What does a positive BRCA1 or BRCA2 test result mean?
- What does a negative BRCA1 or BRCA2 test result mean?
- What does an ambiguous BRCA1 or BRCA2 test result mean?
- What are the options for a person who has a positive test result?
- What are some of the benefits of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer risk?
- What are some of the risks of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer risk?
- What can happen when genetic test results are placed in medical records?
- What is genetic discrimination, and are there laws to protect people from this type of discrimination?
- In general, what factors increase or decrease the chance of developing breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer?