Last updated: Feb 11, 2011
breast-cancer-gene
Corbis
If you're at increased risk of breast cancer or ovarian—meaning you have a significant family history of either disease and/or are of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage—genetic testing may be your best tool for fending off these disease, a new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine reveals.


Of women who etsted positive for nutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, the received a preventive mastectomy, none developed breast cancer down the road; of women who had an oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries), only 1% were later diagnosed with ovarian cancer (possibly because ovarian cells remained postsurgery).

The takeaway?
"It's worth seeing a genetic counselor who can help asses your likelihood of getting these cancers and go over your options," says Timothy R. Rebbeck, PhD, the study's senior author. To find one near you, visit the National Society of Genetic Counselors.