Start by talking with a doctor or nurse about your cancer risk.
Talk with a doctor about your family health history.
Use this family health history tool to keep track of the diseases that run in your family. Take the information with you to the doctor or nurse.
What about cost?
The Affordable Care Act – the health care reform law passed in 2010 – covers these services for women at higher risk of getting breast cancer:
- Counseling about BRCA genetic testing
- Counseling about breast cancer chemoprevention
Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get these services at no cost to you. Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan.
For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.
You may want to ask your doctor or a genetic counselor these questions:
- Based on my family’s health history, do I need genetic counseling?
- What are my chances of having a mutated (changed) gene that could increase my risk for cancer?
- Besides mutated genes, what other things increase my risk for breast and ovarian cancer?
- What types of cancer screenings are recommended if I decide not to do genetic testing?
- If I get tested, who will be able to see my test results?
Take this list of questions about genetic testing to your next doctor’s appointment.
If you are thinking about genetic testing for breast or ovarian cancer, first think about what you will learn and how the results will affect you and your family.
Here are some questions to think about:
- If I get tested, will I be more worried about getting sick?
- Will I share the test results with my spouse or partner? My children? Family and friends? How will they react to the news?
- Are my children ready to learn new information that may one day affect their health?
Get tested for breast cancer.
If you are age 40 or older, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.
Get your well-woman visit every year.
Well-woman visits include a full checkup, separate from any other visit for sickness or injury. Use this visit to talk with your doctor or nurse about other important screenings and services to help you stay healthy.