Breast Cancer (BRCA) Gene Test
How To Prepare continued...
You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need
for the test, its risks, or how it will be done. To help you understand the
importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
No other special preparation is needed
before you have this test.
- Breast Cancer Risk: Should I Have a BRCA Gene Test?
How It Is Done
The health professional drawing blood
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to
stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is
easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick
may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- Apply a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as
the needle is removed.
- Apply pressure to the site and then a
How It Feels
The blood sample is taken from a vein in
your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight.
You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or
It is common to worry before a BRCA test and while waiting
for its results.
There is very little chance of a problem from
having a blood sample taken from a vein.
- You may get a small bruise at the site. You can
lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several
- In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood
sample is taken. To treat this, you can use a warm compress several times a
- Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding
disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can
make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you
take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is
Some women may be
worried about the test results and how it will affect their life insurance,
disability insurance, or long-term care insurance.