Should You Consider Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer?

Inheriting certain genes can increase a woman's risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer, often at a younger age.

Starting at age 25, we recommend that every woman share her personal and family history with her doctor to see if she's at increased risk.

If you have a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer, use this chart to see whether you should consider genetic testing.

Step 1: Print this page and check all items in the chart that are true for you.

Personal and Family History Risk Factors

Breast cancer before age 50 Yes
Yourself  
Mother  
Daughter  
Sister  
Maternal grandmother (mother's mother)  
Aunt (mother's sister)  
Paternal grandmother (father's mother)  
Aunt (father's sister)  
Ovarian cancer at any age  
Yourself  
Mother  
Daughter  
Sister  
Maternal grandmother (mother's mother)  
Aunt (mother's sister)  
Paternal grandmother (father's mother)  
Aunt (father's sister)  
Other family risk factors  
Two or more cases of breast cancer on the same side of the family after age 50  
Mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer in both breasts  
Male relative with breast cancer  
Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry  

Step 2: If you checked 2 or more items in the above chart, talk to your doctor and see if you need a referral to our Genetics or Medical Oncology departments for further evaluation.


Clinical review by Janet Chestnut, MD
Group Health
Reviewed 05/03/2012