BRACAnalysis FAQ

I already know I have a family history of cancer. Why should I get tested?
Testing for inherited risk of cancer helps you and your doctor understand your risk so you can make the best choices for preventive medical care. Knowing your family history is an important first step, but testing can give you a more accurate picture of your inherited risk.

Do doctors recommend testing for everyone?
While testing is the most accurate way to determine your inherited risk of cancer, only people who have breast or ovarian cancer in their family or personal history need to be tested. If breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family, let your doctor know.

How do I get tested?
Ask your doctor if testing is right for you. If so, your doctor will draw a small amount of your blood and send it to Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc. for analysis.

Will my health insurance pay for the test?
Most health insurance plans pay for BRACAnalysis®. More than 90% of tests receive coverage, and the average reimbursement is more than 90%. See Payment and Insurance to learn more.

How long does it take to get the test results?
Your doctor will let you know your test results as soon as they are available—as early as two weeks from the date your test is started.

Does a positive test result mean that I have cancer?
No. BRACAnalysis® does not tell you if you currently have cancer. Your test results tell you about your inherited risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Does a positive test result mean that I will develop cancer?
No. BRACAnalysis® does not tell you whether you will develop cancer. A positive test result tells you that you have an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Is BRACAnalysis® appropriate for men as well?
Men should consider testing if they have a personal history of breast cancer, a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or a family member with a BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation. Although male breast cancer is rare, men who carry BRCA mutations are more likely to develop breast cancer and prostate cancer. Men with a BRCA mutation also have a 50 percent chance of passing it on to their children—whether or not they've been diagnosed with cancer.

If my test result is positive, what are the risks?
If your test result is positive, take action now to reduce your chances of developing cancer. Work with your doctor to create a plan for medical management going forward, and help your family members by sharing your test result with them.

If my test results are positive, how can I reduce my risk of cancer?
If your test results are positive, you and your doctor have a number of options to discuss, including:
    •    Prescription drugs such as tamoxifen to reduce the risk of breast cancer
    •    Oral contraceptives to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer
    •    Increased surveillance (check-ups and tests) from an earlier age
    •    Preventive surgery
Remember, not all options may be right for you. Work with your treatment team to put together a plan.

If I've already had breast cancer, what would a positive test result mean?
People with a BRCA gene mutation are at a greater risk of developing a new cancer, either in the ovaries or the breast. Knowing your BRCA status can help you take steps to reduce this risk or detect another potential cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.

If no one in my family has had ovarian cancer, do I still have to worry if I test positive?
A woman who carries a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation is at an increased risk for both breast and ovarian cancer, even if there are no known cases of ovarian cancer in the family. Fortunately, there are effective options for reducing the risk of ovarian cancer.

Is testing covered by insurance?
Most health insurance plans pay for BRACAnalysis®. More than 90% of tests receive coverage, and the average reimbursement is more than 90%.

Does Myriad offer help with insurance coverage or payment?
Myriad assists in obtaining reimbursement for the genetic tests we offer. Our goal is to ensure that you receive the appropriate coverage from your plan and are aware of your own financial obligations prior to testing.
Your Healthcare provider documents certain key ancestry and personal history information and designates the appropriate test for you on Myriad's Test Request Form. On the same form, you choose a payment option by checking the appropriate box. If you choose Insurance Billing, your signature is also required in the Insurance billing section. See Payment and Insurance to learn more.

Is genetic discrimination prohibited by law?
Yes. A number of federal and state laws prohibit insurance discrimination to various degrees. The Health Insurance Portability Protection Act (HIPAA) recognizes genetic information as Protected Health Information (PHI) and specifies protection for the confidentiality of PHI. HIPAA also provides restrictions on health-related information in making coverage decisions and in setting premiums by group health insurers, although HIPAA does not provide such restrictions for non-group plans. HIPAA further states that genetic information in the absence of a diagnosis cannot be considered a pre-existing condition. In the federal government, executive departments and agencies are prohibited by executive order from using protected genetic information as a basis for employment decisions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has interpreted the Americans with Disabilities act to provide some additional protections from the use of genetic information by employers. Many states have enacted additional protections against genetic discrimination in health insurance or employment or both. In May 2008, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was signed into law and will add to the legal protections that are in place on both the federal and state levels. The National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health has more information on genetic discrimination, your privacy, and the law.

Who will see my genetic test results?
Genetic test results are strictly confidential. Myriad only releases test results to the doctor who ordered the test. Even when insurance plans pay for testing, the insurer does not receive the results. Under no circumstances will Myriad give your results to anyone other than the ordering doctor without your written consent.