Understanding your negative BRCA1/2 result:
- What does this mean?
- A negative BRCA test result means that you do not have a detectable mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. In some cases, if there is a known BRCA mutation in other family members, this result is called a ‘true negative’. In other words, the mutation that has caused the breast and/or ovarian cancer in the family has been identified and you do not carry this same mutation.
- Approximately 12% of people who are from high-risk families have a BRCA1 or 2 mutation that is missed by this test. This is because genetic testing is not perfect; the current test method cannot “read” the gene completely.
- Therefore your negative result means that it is unlikely that you carry a BRCA1/2 mutation. While it cannot be ruled out it is unlikely that this is the cause of your personal and/or family history of breast cancer.
- It is also possible that perhaps you were not the right person in the family to have this test, so if you tested negative it may be necessary to look at your family and determine whether it might be more appropriate to test someone else.
- It is also possible that you might not have had the most comprehensive version of the BRCA1/2 test; the lab offers special additional testing that might uncover a mutation in some families who would have otherwise tested negative.
- What doesn’t your negative test result mean?
- It does not mean that you do not have a mutation that puts you at increased risk for cancer. You may still have a BRCA1/2 mutation, or there may be another gene that could explain your personal and/or family history of cancer.
- It does not mean that you cannot get cancer or that you no longer need to go to your doctor; you should continue to follow your doctor’s recommendations for cancer screening.
Text for this site is provided by Luba Djurdjinovic, MS, Erin E. Houghton, MS, CGC, Lindsey A. Morse, MS, CGC, and Alissa M. Bovee, ScM, CGC