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Who Should Consider Testing?

Learn about genes and cancer, signs of hereditary cancer, genetic counseling, types of genetic tests and what results mean for you and your family.

Genetic testing for people who are Jewish or have Jewish ancestry

BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are common in people of Jewish descent: one in every 40 people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry carries a BRCA mutation comapred to one in every 300-500 people in the general population. For this reason, anyone who is Jewish with a personal or family history of cancer should consult with a genetics expert. 

Benefits of genetic testing for Jewish people

Genetic test results may provide you and your family with additional health information and help you make medical decisions. 

  • Positive genetic test results can help you understand your cancer risk and take actions to stay healthy.
  • Genetic counseling can help you and your family members understand your cancer risk and options, even if no mutation is found.

Additional testing for Jewish families with negative BRCA testing

If you are Jewish and have a personal or family history of cancer, but your family members have all tested negative for a BRCA mutation, you should speak with a genetics expert about expanded panel genetic testing. A recent article showed the benefit of expanded panel testing for Jewish families with cancer, have previously tested negative for BRCA.  

Additional support and resources

If you are Jewish and you or a relative have had cancer, you may be considering genetic testing. Making decisions about genetic testing can be complex and you may want additional guidance or support. FORCE's Peer Navigation Program provides expert reviewed resources and 1:1 personalized peer support by specially trained volunteers who have experienced the very challenges you face.

Updated 01/07/2018

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