So, you’re considering genetic testing to identify your cancer risk. What will the test tell you?
We inherit two copies of every gene in our bodies; one from our mother and one from our father. Genes direct how the body grows and functions. Each gene has a specific job to do; some genes protect our cells from growing out of control and becoming cancerous. Cancer genetic testing looks for harmful changes (mutations) in these inherited genes that cause them to malfunction. People with a harmful mutation in one of their “cancer genes” are more likely to develop cancer.
Genetic testing may better define your risk for developing cancer.
If there is a known gene mutation in your family, a negative test result means that you did not inherit the gene mutation. In most cases, this means you are not at an increased risk for developing cancer.
The bottom line? Detecting cancer—or precancerous conditions—early is key to prevention or effective treatment. Knowing your risk allows you to take a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to your health.
To learn more about genetic testing, or to make an appointment for genetic counseling or our cancer risk management program, please visit our website.
Cancer genetic testing affects the whole family. Family members may have different preferences about knowing their cancer risks.
The decision whether or not to have genetic testing is not always straightforward. Meeting with a genetic counselor can provide you with information about hereditary cancer, can help assess your risk for cancer and can help you decide if genetic testing is right for you.