Genetic Counseling and Testing

Seeking advice from someone who understands genetics:

Who should get genetic testing? What are the pros and cons? We will go through the answers step-by-step, so you feel confident with whatever decision you make. Ultimately, you should talk to your doctor about whether genetic testing is right for you.


Who should consider genetic testing?:

Women who are at a higher risk (see BRCA section above) should strongly consider genetic testing. Speaking with a genetic counselor who can help you identify your risk may be beneficial for you. These counselors can walk you through the process, make recommendations, and explain what your results may be.


Pros and Cons of Genetic Testing:

Pros:

  • A negative result may relieve worry and stress.
  • A positive result can help you understand your risk so you can make better medical decisions, such as preventative care. It can also lead to increased screening which can catch the disease earlier, when treatment is most effective.
  • If you do develop cancer, your doctors can utilize the information from your genetic test to better direct your treatment plan.

Cons:

  • Learning you carry a BRCA mutation does not mean that you’ll get breast cancer, but it can cause worry due to an increased risk.
  • Testing may not be covered by your insurance, and you may have to cover the cost out of pocket. As of December 2016, many private insurance plans cover BRCA testing. Medicaid in Louisiana covers it as well, but it is not covered by Medicaid in Mississippi or Alabama, the two other members of the Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network.
  • There is an emotional burden associated with testing. Relationships can be strained and sharing your results with your family can be difficult.
  • If your results indicate that you do not carry the mutation, it does not guarantee that you will not get breast cancer in your lifetime.

Videos to Watch:


survive video image

Questions About Genetic Counseling An Interview with Meagan Farmer

Meagan answers common questions about genetic counseling. She talks about when and why a person should think about genetic counseling, what to expect during the process, costs involved, and how genetic counseling can show if someone might develop other types of cancer.

watch video

Alabama's Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network

Young women with breast cancer face unique issues. And in the South, there are more young women overall facing breast cancer. In Alabama, young African-American women are significantly more likely to suffer from breast cancer.

That is why SurviveAL is here. Part of the Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network, SurviveAL's mission is to help improve the quality of life for young breast cancer survivors, as well as their family and friends, by providing continuing resources and support.

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