What is hereditary cancer testing?

Hereditary cancer testing may be done through a saliva or blood sample to assess your genetic cancer risk. Up to 10% of cancers are due to gene mutations that can be passed from generation to generation. Hereditary cancer testing can identify genetic mutations that may increase your risk for developing certain types of cancer. This type of test is NOT intended to diagnose if someone currently has cancer.

Who should consider having hereditary cancer testing done?

Hereditary cancer testing may be done through a saliva or blood sample to assess your genetic cancer risk. Up to 10% of cancers are due to gene mutations that can be passed from generation to generation. Hereditary cancer testing can identify genetic mutations that may increase your risk for developing certain types of cancer. This type of test is NOT intended to diagnose if someone currently has cancer.

  • Who should consider having hereditary cancer testing done?
    If you have been diagnosed with a rare cancer or cancer at a young age (under age 50)
  • If you have two or more family members with cancer on the same side of the family (maternal or paternal)
  • If you have a first or second degree relative diagnosed with breast, colorectal or endometrial (uterine) cancer less than age 50
  • If you have a first or second degree relative with any rare cancers (such as ovarian cancer)

To better understand if you could benefit from testing, take this brief quiz:
https://www.hereditarycancerquiz.com.

How can hereditary cancer testing affect you and your family?

Knowing if you have an inherited cancer gene mutation can lead to additional evaluation (such as referral to specialists and earlier/more frequent cancer screening) and other interventions that can effectively reduce your risk of developing cancer, help to diagnose cancer at an earlier stage, and reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with cancer. Your results can also open the door to testing other family members.

Your genetic cancer risk can also affect the management decisions you and your healthcare professional make regarding other issues, such as birth control options, treatment for heavy periods, and pregnancy planning.