Hereditary Risk Assessment: Genetic Cancer Testing Options for Families
Genetics has provided the ability to analyze your cancer risk through hereditary cancer testing. Germline genetic testing is a blood test evaluating inherited genetic changes that increase the risk of hereditary cancers. Although genetic cancers only make up 5 – 10% of all cancer cases, genetic testing can be life saving and reduce unnecessary stressing of the unknown.
At MyOncoPath we do not advocate that hereditary cancer testing is for all. We believe that family members that carry risk for inheriting mutations of cancer genes should get tested to understand if they can take preventative measures.
Our board certified genetic counselors can go over the process, cost, and results with you. The goal is to empower families with knowledge of their genetic make-up in order to create preventative plans. If you or a family member has cancer and you would like to get tested please call us to get started. Our telemedicine clinic makes us a convenient part of your health care team. (Visit our FAQ here for more answers.)
Genetic testing will look for harmful mutations that may increase the hereditary risk for cancer. We recommend hereditary testing of cancer genes to determine if a family member has inherited the same mutation as a known cancer-carrying relative. There are many factors that contribute to cancer. For instance, family members may all be diagnosed with cancer, but the cancer could be from an environmental factor and not hereditary. A parent or sibling can have a hereditary cancer, however due to genetics (half of a person’s chromosomes are supplied by each parent), it is possible for the hereditary mutation of the gene not to be passed to all or any of the children. For this reason we believe it is important to know if you are a carrier. Knowledge is power and MyOncoPath is here to empower you.
Currently, there are many hereditary cancer mutations. With an understanding of a patient’s medical history our genetic counselors will let you know what tests are applicable. A selection of mutations associated with each syndrome we may test for are:
- HBOC – Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, PALB2)
- Li Fraumeni (gene TP53)
- Lynch Syndrome (genes MSH2, MLH1, MSH6, PMS2, EPCAM)
- Cowden Syndrome (gene PTEN)
- Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (gene APC)
- Retinoblastoma (gene RB1)
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 – Wermer Syndrome (gene MEN1)
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (gene RET)
- Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (gene VHL)
We help patients and health care teams consider the risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing in their particular situation. Once the results are back, we review the results and next steps. Knowledge of hereditary cancer mutations will allow patients and medical professionals to create personally tailored prevention, early detection, and potential treatment plans.