Guidelines say more women may need breast cancer gene test


WASHINGTON (AP) – New health guidelines say more women may benefit from gene testing for hereditary breast or ovarian cancer, especially if they already survived cancer once.

Mutations in genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 aren’t common, but when they’re passed through families they greatly increase the chances of breast, ovarian and certain other cancers. Some specialists say too few women who could benefit from BRCA testing are getting it.

Guidelines have long urged doctors to ask women about relatives with BRCA-related cancers, and refer those who might need a gene test to a genetic counselor to help them decide.

Tuesday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said more women should be screened: survivors of breast cancer or other BRCA-related cancers – and women whose ancestry is prone to BRCA mutations.

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