A: I think the short answer is “everyone”. Imagine if we could give every breast cancer patient the power to prevent breast cancer in a loved-one—this is precisely what genetic testing can offer for every breast cancer patient. Approximately 10% of all women with breast cancer will test positive for a mutation linked to breast cancer. Their 1st-degree relatives have a 50% chance of having that very same mutation; by offering ‘cascade’ testing to their relatives, we can then potentially prevent their cancer or, at the very least, find it at its earliest stages.
Moreover, finding this mutation may impact surveillance and/or treatment options for all newly-diagnosed women. Historically, cost has been a major deterrent; however, the test is now covered by insurance for most cancer patients, and, if it isn’t, it can be done for ~$250. If you were tested in the past for a BRCA mutation, please return for MULTI-PANEL GENETIC TESTING—we have discovered many more mutations other than BRCA associated with breast cancer. . While obtaining life insurance may be more difficult, I would choose ‘life’ over life insurance’ any day. In short, please ‘pay it forward’ and get tested if you or a close relative have had breast cancer.