Breast surgeons recommend genetic testing for all breast cancer patients
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The American Society of Breast Surgeons published statement on genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer on February 10, 2019. It includes recommendations about who should be tested. Among these is the recommendation that all breast cancer patients get genetic testing, as well as women who do not have breast cancer but fit the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. (3/25/19)

Expert Guidelines

The guidelines summarized above are those proposed by the American Society of Breast Surgeons. Different organizations and professional societies have different guidelines. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network is a consortium of experts in cancer and genetics. They publish consensus guidelines for genetic testing for inherited mutations that increase cancer risk. Their guidelines for genetic testing for people diagnosed with breast cancer include:

For people with HER2-negative, metastatic breast cancer, NCCN recommends BRCA testing before starting on chemotherapy to see if there may be benefit from treatment with a PARP inhibitor.

According to NCCN, cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling is highly recommended before genetic testing is offered (pre-test counseling) and after results are disclosed (post-test counseling). A genetic counselor, medical geneticist, oncologist, surgeon, oncology nurse, or other health professional with expertise and experience in cancer genetics should be involved early in the counseling of patients.

Questions To Ask Your Health Care Provider


FORCE is a national nonprofit organization, established in 1999. Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by adult hereditary cancers.