Genetic Testing for Cancer Risk
Knowing that a genetic risk exists does not mean that a person will develop the disease.
Managing Your Risk
If you have a family history of cancer, your risk of developing cancer may be increased. And if you have a personal history of cancer, your family members may be at increased risk.
Board-certified genetic counselors will assess your risk for a particular disease by reviewing your personal and family history and by ordering genetic tests. They can then outline a plan to help you and your doctors effectively manage your health risks and prevent disease.
The services provided include:
- Interpretation of your family history
- Coordination of genetic testing
- Interpretation of genetic test results
- Genetics education
- Counseling and emotional support
- Medical management recommendations
- Identification of clinical trials
How Genetic Testing Works
Tests can find high-risk people and stop them from becoming cancer patients. We offer genetic tests and counseling on-site. Our service will:
- Help you understand the results of the test
- Offer advice on how to lower the risk of cancer
Before the test, you should talk to your doctor about:
- Your family history of cancer
- Your personal history of cancer
Counseling before the test can help you understand what the test result will mean. It can also explain options that are available if the test is positive.
Some patients seek out testing before they are diagnosed with cancer. When this happens, the test will focus on the closest relative who has been diagnosed. If this relative is not alive, the test can still offer useful information.
The tests will use DNA from either blood or saliva. Test results will be ready in two to three weeks.
Know Your Test Results
A positive test result can have a big impact on your life. This is why not every at-risk person will choose to be tested.
The benefits of getting tested include:
- Understanding prevention options
- Lowering the risk of the disease
- Finding the disease at an early stage, when treatment is more likely to succeed
If the results are positive, treatment options can include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Screenings more often
- Medications that can lower the risk of breast cancer (chemoprevention)
- Surgery to remove the ovaries and breast tissue before cancer develops; this is often followed by breast reconstruction
Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer
Every woman can get breast cancer. Some women are more likely to do so than others.
Women should think about genetic testing if they:
- Have been diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50
- Had multiple breast cancer diagnoses
- Are of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry
Women should also think about genetic testing if their family history includes:
- Multiple breast cancer diagnoses
- Early age when diagnosed
- Breast cancer in both breasts
- Male breast cancers
- Family members with ovarian cancer or more than one cancer
The BRCA test is often covered by health insurance. It is against the law for anyone to use the test results against the patient (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act). This includes insurance and medical providers during future treatment.
Our experts can give you info and advice about the types of genetic tests. We will also help interpret the results.