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Medical Imaging

Genetic Testing

Rely on your trusted team at The Iowa Clinic to help you understand the benefits and limitations of a genetic breast cancer screening test. Together, you can decide if a genetic test is right for you.

Understand your risk for breast cancer. 

In addition to physical signs and symptoms like breast lumps, we can better understand your risk for developing breast cancer with a Tyrer-Cuzick risk assessment. This assessment takes into account your family health history and other determinants including:

  • Age
  • Body mass index
  • Age at your first period (menarche)
  • Obstetric history
  • Age at menopause (if applicable)
  • History of a non-cancerous breast conditions like hyperplasia, atypical hyperplasia and abnormal cell growth that can increase breast cancer risk
  • History of ovarian cancer
  • Use of hormone replacement therapy
  • Family history (including breast and ovarian cancer and Ashkenazi inheritance)
  • Breast density
  • Prior results from genetic testing

Based on your responses, the assessment estimates your likelihood of developing breast cancer in the next 5 years and throughout your lifetime. If your Tyrer-Cuzick score predicts a 20% or greater chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in your life, you may benefit from having an MRI screening every year in addition to your yearly mammogram.

Connect with a genetic counselor to discuss genetic breast cancer screening options.

According to the American Cancer Society, only 5–10% of breast cancers are associated with gene mutations. If the assessment identifies factors in your personal or family history that increase the chance that you have a mutation in the “breast cancer genes” known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, your breast health team may recommend genetic breast cancer testing.

Before you make your decision, however, our genetic counselor is available to talk through your risk assessment results, the limitations and benefits of genetic breast cancer testing and the value of early detection. 

The genetic panel test, which can use a blood sample or a nose or cheek swab, takes a closer look at 11 different genes thought to increase your breast cancer risk (including BRCA genes). This highly accurate test looks for more types of mutations for each gene and results are usually delivered in about two to three weeks.

We’re with you every step of the way.

When you choose The Iowa Clinic for your breast health care, you get a whole-body approach to understanding any current conditions and future risks. In addition to your provider and medical imaging team, our patient navigator is available to help guide you through every step of the process.

All the information you need about your cancer screening and prevention program. 


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