What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The BRCA gene test is most often a blood test. A doctor, nurse or medical technician inserts a needle into a vein, usually in your arm, to draw the blood sample needed for testing. Your blood sample then goes to a lab for DNA analysis.

In some cases, other sample types are collected for DNA analysis, including saliva or skin biopsy samples. If you have a family history of cancer and are interested in pursuing a saliva DNA test, discuss it with your doctor. He or she can refer you to a genetic counselor who can determine the most appropriate sample type for genetic testing.

It takes several weeks before test results are available. You meet with your genetic counselor to learn your test results, discuss their implications and go over your options. Federal and state laws help ensure the privacy of your genetic information and protect against discrimination in health insurance and employment.

June 18, 2015