Have any of your close relatives been diagnosed with a terminal illness? A cancer diagnosis is scary for those diagnosed and for those closest to them. Serious medical conditions in biological family members can be a precursor of your future health. Doctors recommend patients with a family history of serious illnesses seek genetic testing for cancer. You can quiz yourself to find out if you’re a good candidate for genetic testing for cancer predisposition.
Although there are some drawbacks to the test, your results can help you make some serious decisions about your health.
Genetic Testing for Cancer
Benefits of testing for cancer predispositions
The most important thing to know about genetic testing for cancer is that a positive test does not mean you will get cancer. On the same note, a negative reading doesn’t mean you won’t ever develop cancer cells. What the test does do is help you and your physician make some decisions about your future health. Some women who test positive for a genetic mutation opt to have a hysterectomy to help lower their risk of developing cancer.
People with an immediate family member who have been diagnosed with colon cancer or ovarian cancer have a higher risk of developing the same disease. Genetic testing for colon cancer and others can help start treatment early and increase survival rates.
After a cancer diagnosis, genetic testing tumors can help doctors determine the patient’s treatment outlook. As researchers learn more about cancer and what causes the cell mutations, genetic testing will yield a more generous amount of information.
Stress can severely affect your health. If you’re worried about potential cancer risks, get tested if only for a peace of mind.
What to expect from your test
Genetic testing for cancer usually requires several blood samples. The doctor will send your specimen to the lab to test for mutated genes. It could take several weeks to get your results back so in the meantime, try to relax. Find comfort in the fact that you’re taking the first steps to take control of your health.
Once your results are back, you will meet with your doctor to discuss. If the test comes back positive for gene mutations, you could decide to take some preventative measures.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions you should consider genetic testing for cancer.
Do you have any of the following personal or family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer:
- Breast cancer at or below age 50
- Any occurrence of ovarian cancer
- Male breast cancer at any age
- Two breast cancers in the same person or same side of the family
- Triple negative breast cancer at any age
- Known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry along with an HBOC-associated cancer
- Pancreatic cancer and an HBOC-associated cancer in the same person or side of the family
Do you have any of the following personal or family history of colorectal cancer:
- Colorectal cancer before or after age 50
- One or more colorectal adenomatous polyps
- Uterine cancer
- More than one Lynch Syndrome-related cancers in the same person
- Close relative with a Lynch Syndrome gene mutation
- Tumor with microsatellite instability
If you answered yes to any of the above questions or if you have concerns about your family history, get tested. Make your genetic testing for cancer appointment with Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care.