BRCA Counseling and Testing

Who should consider genetic counseling & testing?

Genetic counseling and testing for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 mutations should be considered if you meet any ONE of the following criteria*:

  • Family member with a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation
  • Personal history of breast cancer (invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS))
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of ovarian/fallopian tube/primary peritoneal cancer
  • Family history of ovarian/fallopian tube/primary peritoneal cancer
  • Personal history of male breast cancer
  • Family history of male breast cancer
  • Personal history of pancreatic cancer
  • Family history of pancreatic cancer

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recommends genetic testing for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 mutations be performed in the setting of both pre-and post test counseling by an individual specialized in the area of cancer genetics**.

What is genetic counseling?

Genetic counselors are medical specialists with an advanced degree in genetics earned from an accredited graduate program in genetic counseling. Genetic counselors are certified through a board examination administered by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Women referred for genetic testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are encouraged to meet with a genetic counselor prior to undergoing testing to learn about the risks, benefits, and limitations of the genetic test.

What is genetic testing?

If you meet specific criteria, a genetic counselor will discuss genetic testing. Women who test positive for a BRCA 1 or a BRCA 2 mutation are counseled in a more personalized manner regarding their increased cancer risks. Based on the mutation identified, as well as a woman’s personal medical history and family history, the patient can be advised by her physician to undergo the appropriate high-risk screening and/or risk-reducing surgeries.

Can I get Screened for BRCA through the Jewish Genetic Diseases Center?

Currently the Jewish Genetic Diseases Center of Greater Phoenix does not offer BRCA screening, however, this is something we are researching and will probably offer in the near future. Until such time as we can help with BRCA screening, we have compiled a list of Centers where you can get screened. Click on the image below for details.


*Based on criteria from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network-Clinical practice guidelines in oncology genetic/familial high-risk assessment: breast and ovarian. Version 1.2011.
**Robson ME., et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology policy statement update: genetic and genomic testing for cancer susceptibility. J Clin Oncol. 2010; 28(5): 839-901.