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Two tips for those who are undergoing genetic screening to check for breast cancer genes

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If you believe you might have one of the genes that are commonly associated with breast cancer (such as BRCA1 or BRCA2) and you have arranged to use a health care clinic's genetic screening service to find out if you do have a gene like this, you might find it helpful to read through and take note of the tips below.

Do not read up on breast cancer whilst waiting for the results of the genetic screening

After you have had your blood drawn by the clinic's staff, you may have to wait several weeks for the results of the genetic screening process. During this worrying time, it might be hard to resist the impulse to start reading up on breast cancer online. However, it is best to fight this urge. The reason for this is as follows: examining the scientific literature and statistics on this disease and reading the personal stories of women who have had breast cancer could frighten you and leave you convinced that you are definitely going to get this disease and pass away.  

If your genetic screening results indicate that you do not have these breast cancer-causing genes, then you will have put yourself through this torment for nothing. If this screening process shows that you have one of these genes, then reading online information about the disease, which may either not apply to your specific medical situation or which might be misleading or inaccurate, will simply leave you confused and terrified rather than informed and mentally prepared for the medical treatments that might await you. If you wait until getting the screening results before diving headfirst into this research, you can get sound and trustworthy information about the results and their implications directly from your doctor, and you will be able to ask them to recommend online resources related to this genetic issue that are accurate and relevant to your particular situation.

Take someone you're close to with you to when you go to the clinic to collect the results

It is best not to go to the clinic alone when you are told that your results are ready. Instead, you should ask a trusted friend or family member to come along to this appointment with you. The reason you must do this is that, regardless of the results of the genetic screening, you may feel very emotional when you find out what they are. If you test positive for one of the cancer-causing genes then you might be distraught, panicked and in no fit state to make your own way home afterward. Having someone who can take care of you will be crucial in this scenario.

Even if the results show that you do not have these genes, you might still feel a tidal wave of intense emotions. It could be comforting to be in the presence of a trusted relative or loved one who can celebrate this happy result with you and allow you to express your feelings of immense relief and gratitude aloud.