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BRCA Gene Test

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BRCA GENE TEST DEFINITION

The BRCA gene test is a DNA blood test that utilizes DNA analysis in order to find out harmful mutations in either one of the two breast cancer susceptibility genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2 (hence the name of the gene test).

BRCA GENE TEST PURPOSE

The BRCA gene test is given to those suspected likeliest to carry the BRCA mutation, specifically someone with a family history of such a disease. Typically, the youngest family member in a family with breast cancer history will have the BRCA gene test first. Genetic counselors can assist in identifying who this person is based on family history.

BRCA GENE TEST RISKS

Because this test entails the drawing of blood, expect low risks in infection, lightheadedness, or excessive bleeding. Then again, if you test positive for BRCA gene mutation, anxiety, stress, and emotional implications are your likeliest risks.

BRCA GENE TEST PREPARATION REQUIRED

BRCA GENE TEST
Image: BRCA GENE TEST
First, you need to meet with a genetic counselor. Gather your personal and family history before the meeting. Whether or not you should go forward with the test after consulting with the genetic counselor is up to you. As for the blood drawing itself, it requires little to no preparation save for you probably ceasing intake of anticoagulant medications.

BRCA GENE TEST PROCEDURE

The BRCA gene test is a blood test, so it will go the same way all blood tests go: A nurse or technician will stick a needle into a vein located on one of your arms, draw blood, then send the blood sample to a lab for analysis. You can return to whatever you were doing immediately after the blood test.

BRCA GENE TEST COMPLICATIONS

Typical blood test complications include low possibility ones like infection, excessive bleeding, fainting, lightheadedness, bruising, and hematoma. Before undergoing the test, be sure to tell your doctor if you've been taking anticoagulant medication and the like.

BRCA GENE TEST SIDE EFFECTS

Pain and a throbbing sensation on the site where you've been drawn blood is the most common side effect of this blood test (or any other like it). If this pain persists or if other complications like excessive bleeding and signs of infection happen, contact your doctor immediately.

BRCA GENE TEST RESULTS

Women who've inherited BRCA mutations face a greater risk at getting breast cancer than those who haven't. If you've gotten a positive result, then you will need follow-up care to reduce your cancer risk. This will depend on your personal preferences, past surgeries, prior treatments, medical history and age.
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