A negative test can sometimes be more difficult to understand than a positive test.
If you are the first, second or third degree relative of a person known to carry a pathogenic mutation, a negative test means that you do not carry the mutation. You have the same risk of breast and ovarian cancer as the general population. Your children cannot inherit this particular mutation from you.
A negative result is less clear if you or any close blood relative has a personal or family history that suggests a BRCA mutation. Possible causes for this include:
- a false-negative test for a known mutation which, although rare, can occur
- an as yet unknown pathogenic BRCA mutation
- a pathogenic mutation in another gene
If you are considering testing for a BRCA mutation you may want to discuss these potential uncertainties with your healthcare provider or a genetic counsellor.