23andMe Genetic Health Risk Reports:
What you should know


We encourage you to speak to a genetic counselor

There are many things to think about when deciding whether genetic testing is right for you. Although these tests can provide important information about health risks, they can also be upsetting or raise questions about what the results mean. Genetic tests also have certain limitations that are important to understand. Your personal and family medical history, as well as your goals for testing, should all factor into your decisions about whether and how to test.

A genetic counselor, a healthcare professional with special training in genetic conditions, will be able to answer your questions and help you make an informed choice. We recommend that you speak with a genetic counselor before testing, and also after testing to help you understand your results and what actions you should take. This is especially important for health conditions that are preventable or treatable.

Talk to your healthcare provider or click here to search for a genetic counselor near you (this link takes you to a page managed by the National Society of Genetic Counselors: https://www.aboutgeneticcounselors.org/).

sample questions to discuss with a genetic counselor:

What are the risks and benefits of genetic testing? What are you hoping to find out from genetic testing? Are there diseases that run in your family?
  • Variant(s) not detected

    You do not have the variant(s) we tested. Since these tests do not include all variants that may impact your risk of developing a condition, you may still have another variant that could affect your risk. Non-genetic factors may also affect your risk.
  • Variant(s) detected

    You have one or more of the variants we tested. You may be at increased risk for the condition based on this result. This does not mean you will definitely develop the condition. Other factors may also affect your risk.
  • Result not determined

    Your test result could not be determined. This can be caused by random test error or other factors that interfere with the test.

In some cases, the laboratory may not be able to process your sample. If this happens, we will notify you by email and you may request one free replacement kit.

Other companies offering genetic risk tests may include different variants for the same health condition. This means that it's possible to get different results using a test from a different company.

If your report says you have variants associated with increased risk

  • Consider sharing the result with a healthcare professional.
  • Certain results, such as having a variant detected for the BRCA1/ BRCA2 (Selected Variants) report, may warrant prompt follow-up with a healthcare professional, since effective options may exist to prevent or reduce risk for disease. Each report will provide more specific guidance.
  • Consider sharing your results with relatives. They may also have these variants. Keep in mind that some people may not want to know information about genetic health risks.

If your report says you do not have any risk variants detected

  • Continue to follow screening and other healthy behaviors recommended by your healthcare provider. This is because our reports do not cover all factors that might influence risk.

Concerned about your risk?

  • If you have other risk factors for the condition, you should discuss the condition with a doctor.
  • You can also discuss your results with a genetic counselor (this link takes you to a page managed by the National Society of Genetic Counselors to find a genetic counselor near you: https://www.aboutgeneticcounselors.org/).

Genetic Health Risk reports are intended to provide you with genetic information to inform conversations with a healthcare professional. These reports should not be used to make medical decisions. Always consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medical action.

You will be asked whether you want to receive certain Genetic Health Risk reports

Some of our reports are about serious diseases that may not have an effective treatment or cure. Others may have effective treatment or prevention options, but these actions may carry their own health risks. You may be upset by learning about genetic risks for these diseases, and about genetic risks for family members who share DNA. If you tend to feel anxious or have a personal history of depression or anxiety, this information may be more likely to be upsetting. Knowing about genetic risks could also affect your ability to get some kinds of insurance.

You can choose to exclude the following reports individually from your account before your results are returned to you:

  • BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants)
  • Hereditary Prostate Cancer (HOXB13-Related)
  • Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
  • MUTYH-Associated Polyposis
  • Parkinson’s Disease

If you are interested in receiving these reports, we recommend that you consult with a genetic counselor before purchasing. Additional relevant information about these reports will be provided when you go through the process of setting your report preferences, after registering your kit.

What to know about: 

BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants) and our test

Specific genetic variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer (in females and males) and ovarian cancer. These variants may also be associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and potentially other cancers. This test includes 44 out of more than 4,000 variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that are known to increase cancer risk.

BRCA1- and BRCA2-associated cancer risks

  • Females with a variant have a 45-85% chance of developing breast cancer by age 70 and up to a 46% chance of developing ovarian cancer by age 70.
  • Males with a variant have up to an 8% lifetime risk of developing male breast cancer and may have an increased risk for prostate cancer.
  • People with a variant may also have an increased risk for pancreatic cancer and potentially other cancers.
  • Learn more about these cancer risks

Other factors that affect cancer risk

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Weight
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Other genetic variants not included in this test

When cancers develop

In general, the chances of developing cancer increase as a person gets older. However, females with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 variant have an increased risk for early-onset breast cancer. Males with a variant may develop earlier and more aggressive prostate cancer.

Screening and prevention

Guidelines recommend that females with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 variant should be screened for breast cancer earlier and more often. Risk-reducing surgery or medication may also be offered. Males with a variant should be screened for breast cancer and should discuss their result with a doctor to determine whether prostate cancer screening is appropriate. People with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 variant and a family history of pancreatic cancer may also be offered pancreatic cancer screening. This test is not a substitute for visits to a healthcare professional for recommended screenings. Results should be confirmed by an independent genetic test prescribed by your own healthcare provider before taking any medical action. It is important to talk with a healthcare professional before taking any medical action.

What do we test?

  • We test for 44 variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that are associated with an increased risk of developing certain cancers. See full list of tested variants.
  • We do not test for all possible variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. More than 4,000 variants in these genes are known to increase cancer risk.
  • This test does not include variants in other genes linked to hereditary cancers.
  • Genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants in the general population is not currently recommended by any healthcare professional organizations.

Ethnicity considerations

  • This test does not include the majority of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants found in people of most ethnicities. People who receive a "variants not detected" result could still have a variant not included in this test.
  • Of the variants included in this test, the majority are most commonly found in people of Ashkenazi Jewish, African American, European, and Hispanic/Latino descent.

Test performance summary

Accuracy was determined by comparing results from this test with results from sequencing. Greater than 99% of test results were correct. While unlikely, this test may provide false positive or false negative results. For more details on the analytical performance of this test, refer to the package insert.

View Frequently Asked Questions about this report here