I've Tested Positive, Now What?
Low-cost genetic testing is available
If you have a personal or family history of cancer and are denied coverage of genetic counseling or testing by your health plan, we encourage you to file an appeal.
If out-of-pocket costs are an issue, a genetic counselor or nurse navigator can help you find financial assistance to cover or offset the cost of genetic testing. For more information on genetic counseling and how to find a qualified genetics expert, see our webpage on this topic.
Many reputable laboratories offer financial assistance programs. Ambry Genetics, Color Genomics, Invitae, Myriad, Natera and Quest Diagnostics are among the top labs that offer financial assistance, patient-pay rates or low-cost testing options. Low-cost, medical-grade genetic testing may be available for as little as $50. Labs have different criteria for assistance, so if you are not eligible for aid through one laboratory you should contact other labs to see if you qualify for a financial assistance program.
Using ancestry testing for cancer risk
Many companies offer genetic testing to help people find relatives or learn more about their ethnicity. These tests are for recreational purposes. They are not meant to guide medical decision-making.
Some ancestry testing companies may offer limited testing for a small number of genetic mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2 and some of the genes linked to Lynch Syndrome. Ancestry tests do not look for many of the other gene mutations that may be linked to cancer. For example, there are almost 3,000 mutations in BRCA1 and over 3,300 mutations in BRCA2. Ancestry tests only look for a few of these many mutations. Other genes, such as ATM and PALB2 are not included in the current ancestry tests.
The FDA warns people not to use ancestry test results to make medical decisions, and advises people to have testing with a clinically certified lab to confirm the results. The agency also emphasizes “it is important for patients to consult their health care professional who can help them understand…their individual cancer risk.”
- Visit the How to Get Testing section of our website for criteria for genetic testing and information on finding a cancer genetics expert.
- FORCE's toll-free helpline: 866-288-RISK, ext. 704, can connect you with a volunteer board-certified genetic counselor who can answer general questions about genetic testing and hereditary cancer and help you find a genetic counselor near you.
- FORCE Peer Navigator Program will match you with a volunteer who has undergone genetic counseling and can help you navigate resources to find a genetic counselor near you.