Why Have Counseling for BRCA Testing?
There is fair evidence that women with certain specific family history patterns (increased-risk family history) have an increased risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer associated with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force determined that these women would benefit from genetic counseling that allows informed decision making about testing and further prophylactic treatment. This counseling should be done by suitably trained health care providers. There is insufficient evidence to determine the benefits of chemoprevention or intensive screening in improving health outcomes in these women if they test positive for deleterious BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. However, there is fair evidence that prophylactic surgery for these women significantly decreases breast and ovarian cancer incidence. Thus, the potential benefits of referral and discussion of testing and prophylactic treatment for these women may be substantial.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, September 2005