Genetic Counseling and Testing for Cancer
What Our Genes Can Tell Us
So many of the things about us are determined by our DNA. Our genes, which are made up of DNA, tell our bodies how to grow and develop. If there is a change in the DNA sequence within a gene, also called a mutation, the cell cannot function properly. This may impact our likelihood to develop certain diseases, such as cancer.
Each person has two copies of every gene, contained in every cell in the body – one copy from your father, and one from your mother. If you are found to have a gene mutation, it is possible it was passed on to you from your parents and therefore could be passed on to your children. This passing of genetic information from parents to children is how we can identify hereditary cancers.
A Closer Look
Genetic testing takes a closer look at genes that are known to cause hereditary cancers. If a mutation is found, a genetic counselor can evaluate whether you or someone in your family are at risk for developing cancer.
Does Cancer Run in Your Family?
5-10% of cancer diagnoses occur because of an underlying genetic mutation. Some of the most common hereditary cancers include:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Colon/colorectal cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
Determine Your Cancer Risk
You can review your family health history to determine if you would benefit from genetic testing:
- Cancer occurring at a young age (younger than 50)
- Multiple family members in different generations are impacted by cancer
- Many relatives on the same side of the family who have had the same type of cancer
- A family member who has been diagnosed with multiple types of cancer in their lifetime
- Cancer occurring bilaterally in paired organs (such as both breasts)
- Rare types of cancer (such as male breast cancer)
- A history of several physical findings (such as having many colon polyps)
Determine Your Cancer Risk
A genetic counselor can help you determine if genetic testing may be helpful for you and your family. There are many reasons why you may choose to have genetic testing:
- To assess your risk of developing cancer in the future
- To determine if other family members could be at risk to develop cancer
- To help treat and manage a current cancer diagnosis
- To provide an explanation for why you or your family member(s) developed cancer
- To relieve anxiety and uncertainty about hereditary cancer
- To better manage medical care through cancer screenings, preventative surgeries and changes in lifestyle factors
Personalized Medicine for Your Cancer Care
If you are diagnosed with cancer, genetic testing is done to identify the exact mutations in the DNA sequence of your genes. This allows your medical team to determine the most specialized, effective treatment for your specific cancer. Your doctor will refer you for this testing and use it to create your personalized treatment plan.
Schedule an Appointment
If you think testing could help, a genetics counselor can help you determine which type of genetic testing is the most appropriate for you. They can also help you develop a care plan based on your results.
For questions about insurance and billing, please call Patient Financial Services at 402-481-5791.
No doctor referral needed.
To schedule an appointment, call 402-481-6305.