Testing for this gene helps determine the risk for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

BRCA Overview

Reviewed: April 22, 2014

BRCA stands for Breast Cancer susceptibility gene. There are two main BRCA genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2. Genes carry all the biological information that is passed from parent to child. The BRCA genes help a cell’s DNA (genetic material) function normally. However, sometimes harmful changes (mutations) in these genes can happen. When this happens, the cell’s DNA does not function correctly, and a woman’s risk of developing breast, ovarian, and some other cancers can be greatly increased. Testing will identify if there are any mutations in the BRCA genes.

Normal test results will not have any mutations in the BRCA genes.


Blood draw


Fasting is not required before the test

What the results mean

Positive results indicate an increased risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

Negative results indicate there is no risk for hereditary breast cancer due to BRCA mutations.