Hereditary cancer testing can help you determine what your risk level of developing cancer is. It examines genetic mutations and informs you if you possess genes inclined towards cancer that you might pass on to your children. It is highly advisable to have yourself genetically examined for cancer risk so that you can inform your family and your healthcare provider accordingly.

Now, while genetic testing will not be able to accurately tell whether you will develop cancer in your lifetime or not, it will give you an understanding of how predisposed you are for the incidence. Cancer risk prediction is never an easy task.

Only an individual with a gene mutation will develop cancer. So even if a person tests as having a higher cancer risk than another, they may not get cancer unless the responsible gene mutation is present.

Which Types of Cancer Can Hereditary Cancer Testing Detect?

Genetic testing can assess your risk of getting the following types of cancer:
• Ovarian
• Breast
• Colon
• Pancreatic
• Prostate
• Kidney
• Sarcoma
• Stomach
• Melanoma

Why Should You Consider Hereditary Cancer Testing?

Inherited gene mutations are thought to make up 5% to 10% of all cancer cases. Again, having an inherited gene mutation that makes you more likely to develop cancer does not mean that you will absolutely suffer from cancer – it just puts you at an increased risk.

The practice by which susceptible gene mutations are teased out is called predictive genetic testing. It is generally only recommended for people with a family history of cancer behind them or when a gene mutation is suspected.

When Should You Consider Predictive Genetic Testing?

You can consider hereditary cancer testing in the form of a predictive genetic test if the following is true for you:
• You have multiple relatives on the same side of your family with the same form of cancer.
• A family member has a rare type of cancer.
• Several first-degree relatives have cancer.
• You have a family member with more than a single form of cancer.
• A physical complaint linked to inherited cancer is found.
• You have an ethnic background that is more susceptible to certain types of cancer (for instance, Jewish ancestry is linked to an increased risk of ovarian and breast cancer.)
• A family member has undergone the test and been detected with a genetic mutation.
• Family members have had cancer at an age younger than what is considered normal.
• You have relatives with cancer that can be inherited.

How Can You Arrange Genetic Testing for Yourself?

Austin Family Medicine has partnered with Vantari Genetics to provide the Vantari Hereditary Cancer Panel. This is a comprehensive test that can scan for a number of types of cancer. After receiving this panel, we will help to interpret the results.

If you suspect that cancer runs in the family, it is a good idea to have this panel performed to verify your doubts. While you may not know for sure whether you or a family member will go on to develop cancer, at least you’ll know at what risk you stand.

Find out more – contact the office of Dr. David Sneed, a well-respected family physician, and set up a consultation.