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Genetic Testing May Expose Cancer Risks

Genetic mutations are known to play a role in the development of all cancers. While these mutations often occur gradually over time, there are cases where hereditary mutations are present throughout life. When this is the case, a person may have inherited a hereditary cancer syndrome from a parent. These markers can provide valuable insights about a person’s risk for certain forms of cancer.

Researchers have identified more than 50 different hereditary cancer syndromes that can be identified through genetic testing. These inherited mutations are known to play a big role in the development of roughly 5 to 10 percent of all reported cases of cancer.

Individuals who have a family history of cancer or are concerned an hereditary syndrome may be present can look into the potential for genetic testing to determine if any syndromes are present. This type of testing involves study of a person’s genes, chromosomes and proteins for specific inherited mutations. Doctors are able to order the necessary tests rather readily with the results offering potentially valuable information about potential risk for cancer development.

It is important for people who suspect inherited mutations to note, however, that these syndromes are responsible for only a small sliver of cancer cases. In addition, the presence of an inherited syndrome does not necessarily mean that cancer will develop. The resulting findings may only serve as a guideline to help determine risk. Genetic testing may also be helpful for those who are considering conception and are concerned about what genetic materials they may pass along to offspring.

Genetic testing can offer some insights about possible cancer risks. People who are concerned about genetic ties to particular forms of cancer may find the testing offers them the information and/or peace of mind they seek. To find out more about testing for hereditary cancer syndromes, people should speak directly with their healthcare providers.

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