Rates of genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have increased among younger women diagnosed with breast cancer, according to a new study. The study focused on nearly 900 women diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 or younger. Researchers looked at rates of genetic testing, barriers to testing, and how the test results affected treatment decisions.
In 2006, the rates of BRCA testing were in the seventy percent range and by 2012 that proportion rose to ninety-five percent. While the majority of women reported being tested for BRCA 1 and 2, many were not, and a small minority reported that no one had discussed genetic risk or testing options. The study authors note that the overall goal of genetic testing is to help women make informed treatment decisions. Assessment of a young woman’s genetic risk after a breast cancer diagnosis can affect treatment decisions and the results can also have health implications for her relatives.