What to know before you get tested.

Yodeah believes in testing for BRCA mutations in all Ashkenazi Jews (men and women) regardless of family history, even if they have only one of four Ashkenazi Jewish grandparents. This is called population-based testing in Ashkenazi Jews. This is supported by extensive medical literature as well as guidelines per National Comprehensive Cancer Network. (NCCN.org)

Some information you should know before you test:

  • This testing is for a cancer susceptibility gene, not for cancer itself. If you carry a hereditary cancer susceptibility gene such as BRCA, it does not mean you will develop cancer, but your risks of certain cancers are elevated, and there are established guidelines to decrease cancer risks, including increased screening, medicines as well as medical procedures.

 

  • The 1 in 40 statistic applies to 3 specific genetic mutations on the BRCA genes. These are called Ashkenazi Jewish founder mutations, and they account for ~ 85% of the BRCA mutations found in Ashkenazi Jews. Sometimes, based on family or personal history, it would be important to check for additional genetic mutations on a BRCA gene or other cancer associated genes.

 

  • Guidelines do not recommend testing for a BRCA genetic mutation until age 25, unless there is a family history of cancer at a younger age. This is in part because increased screening for BRCA associated cancers doesn’t begin until age 25. However, if there is a family history of cancer at a younger age or a pediatric cancer, full genetic counseling would be recommended.

 

  • The panel included in our discounted negotiated rate includes full BRCA 1 and 2 testing, not only the three more common Ashkenazi Jewish founder mutations. It also includes other well studied cancer susceptibility genes. Remember we have no financial relationship with these commercial labs.

 

  • For medical decision making, we recommend medical-grade genetic testing, not testing done thorough 23andMe or Ancestry. If testing was done through those organizations, medical guidelines would recommend retesting with a medical grade test.

 

  • Gina Law: In 2007, a federal law was enacted preventing health insurance companies from discriminating against individuals who carry genetic mutations such as those we see on BRCA genes. Unfortunately, this law does not protect individuals who are applying for life insurance or long-term disability insurance. Many individuals may  want to have those policies in place prior to testing.

 

  • Most cancer is sporadic, meaning not related to a hereditary cancer gene like BRCA. It is important to continue cancer screening per medical guidelines. This information will be reinforced after your results are in.

 

  • Your results should be put into the context of your personal and family history. What this means is that if you are negative and have a family history of cancer, your doctor may still suggest following you closer with enhanced screening.

Yodeah’s mission is to educate and facilitate cost-effective testing for hereditary cancer genetic mutations in the Jewish community.  Yodeah does not give medical advice. We recommend you contact your health care professional for any questions about cancer or genetic testing. Genetic testing is not a substitute for visits to health care professional for recommended screenings or appropriate follow up.