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 brca 1 & brca 2 

Genetic Makeup

BRCA1 and BRCA2 (Breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 and breast cancer susceptibility gene 2) are human genes that are known as tumor suppressors. Mutations of these genes have been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and inheriting this mutation increases the risk of developing breast/ovarian cancer. Genetic testing for these genes are done by blood sampling accompanied with genetic counseling before and after the tests. If the BRCA1 or BRCA 2 are found there are several options to help a person manage their cancer risk. Several screening tools are now available to help with evaluation. These tools assess family history factors that are associated with an increased likelihood of having a harmful mutation. See BRCA1 BRCA2 testing.


About Testing

How?  If you meet this criteria, your family physician will refer you a high risk breast cancer clinic for assessment. If you are deemed a candidate for the test, you will be referred to genetic counselling.

When? It can take several months to be assessed and several more to have the blood samples tested.

Where? Genetic testing for the BRCA genes is done by health professionals, clinical laboratories, research studies and hereditary cancer programs.

How much? In Canada the cost of testing is covered for individuals who meet the criteria and have been referred for the testing by their physicians.

Women who have an increased risk of breast cancer will be counseled by a physician about cancer risk reduction strategies, including the role of preventive surgery, increased screening tests, taking medication to reduce risk and lifestyle factors.




Updated 05/22/2014

The Breast Cancer Society of Canada is a tax-exempt and registered charity (charitable registration number 137969861R0001).