Breast cancer genetic testing

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, we are proud to be one of the few health systems in the Chicago area with genetic counselors on staff at our Cancer Centers in Naperville, Elmhurst and Plainfield.

In addition to helping you understand your inherited risk for breast cancer, genetic testing and counseling can also be a useful tool when you have a new breast cancer diagnosis. This information may help guide treatment decisions and help your family members understand their risk.

How does genetic testing and counseling work?

You’ll first meet with a genetic counselor to review your diagnosis and discuss the testing options available. In most cases, genetic testing consists of a simple blood draw or saliva sample.

The sample is sent to a laboratory where technicians examine your DNA makeup for gene mutations (such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations linked to breast cancer) that can predispose an individual to cancer. You’ll meet again with the genetic counselor to discuss the results of your test and next steps.

How can genetic testing help guide breast cancer treatment?

If genetic testing determines that you are predisposed to hereditary cancer, this information can help guide different choices regarding surgical management or chemotherapy agents. Genetic testing ordered by a genetic counselor is different from genetic testing that may be performed on the surgical specimen ordered by an oncology physician to help guide additional treatment options.

What is the cost?

Most insurances cover the majority of the cost of genetic testing, making it an available option for most patients who are interested. If the genetic counselor or the testing lab determines that insurance may not cover the cost of the testing, reasonable self-pay options are also available. Your genetic counselor can assist in finding what, if any, testing is best suited for you.

How to schedule an appointment

In order to determine if genetic testing and counseling is right for you, talk to your doctor or ask for a referral to meet with one of our certified genetic counselors:

For more information on genetic testing or to make an appointment, call our Cancer Centers at 630-646-2273 (CARE).