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Breast Cancer Gene

I am thinking of getting tested for the Breast Cancer Gene. My mom and her sister have had breast cancer. My mom has been cancer free for about 11 years. If I were to test positive I would probably choose the surgical route and get both breasts and my lymph nodes removed. I was wondering if anyone had been tested and what the cost was like. Thanks in advance for your help.

Tue. Mar 25, 12:14pm

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Before you are tested, consider the type and severity of breast cancer that your family tends to have. I have a mother, both grandmothers, an aunt and 2 cousins who are survivors. My mother's oncologist says that because all of the cases were post menopausal and all responded to treatment (also, caught early) that I shouldn't even consider preventive surgery. That my chances of having it are almost a certainty, but that my lifestyle choices (never smoked, no b.c pills, exercise, low fat diet) give me a leg up that none of them had. My family history is enough to tell me that I probably have the gene, so getting tested would be a waste. Doctors often suggest genetic testing for women whose history includes treatment resistant, aggressive cancer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 12:57 PM

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My mom and grandmother had it, but my mom's was post-menopausal. I was told (by a geneticist) that post-menopausal breast cancer is not usually genetically linked; it's only if the family members have it pre-menopausal that it is often genetic.

I chose to be tested anyway. My insurance covered a large portion of it, but I think I still ended up being responsible for about $100. Not really sure, b/c I was also having some Ashkenazi Jewish genetic testing done at the same time.

My best advice would be to get a recommendation for a geneticist, and call their office and tell them your family history, and get their recommendations. They can also tell you the tests that they'd run and how much they'd cost. With that information, you can then call your insurance and see if the tests would be covered, partially covered, or not covered.

Oh, my test results were negative - I do not have the gene. Even so, not having the gene means you have the same risk as the general population; it does not mean you have no risk.

My geneticist was fantastic - he took a lot of time to talk to me and explain what results would come back, and what any of the results would mean. If you live in Chicago, my doctor was Dr. Eugene Pergament; he specializes in reproductive genetics and he's through Northwestern Memorial hospital.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 1:17 PM

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