Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancer

What is hereditary cancer?

Most cancers occur by chance. However in some families, more cancers of the same kind, or related kinds, are seen when compared to the general population. This is often called “familial” or “hereditary cancer”. Hereditary cancer occurs when an altered gene (in other words, a gene with a mutation) is passed down in the family from parent to child increasing the risk of developing cancer.

Approximately 5% to 10% of all cancers develop because a person inherited a genetic mutation in a way that encourages the disease to grow. People with hereditary cancers are more likely to have relatives with the same type or a related type of cancer. In addition, they often develop cancer at an earlier age than average, and may also develop more than one cancer in their lifetime.

Who is at risk for hereditary cancer?

Indicators for hereditary cancer

You can assess your Hereditary Cancer Risk by following the link below. The link will take you to an electronic self-assessment tool that can help you determine whether you may be a candidate to get tested for several of the most common hereditary cancer syndromes:

Genetic test

Genetic panels represent the next generation of hereditary cancer risk testing. They are the only tests that combine your genetic information with your personal and family history to generate guideline-based management options to help you lower cancer risks.

This type of testing does not tell you whether or not you have cancer. It looks at multiple genes that impact inherited risks for eight important cancers (breast, ovarian, gastric, colorectal, pancreatic, melanoma, prostate, and endometrial). The results provide critical information for your healthcare provider to make optimal medical decisions and take action in building a personalized cancer risk-reduction plan.


How does it work?

Each individual has a unique genetic makeup.

Pharmacogenetics refers to the role of genetic variation in the response to a drug. There is tremendous inter-individual variability in the response to medicines. Pharmacogenetics tests examine patient-specific genetic markers which can identify treatments that are more likely to work as intended, or cause a negative effect.

Pharmacogenetics testing is done through a simple mouth swab and helps to inform on potential risks, side effects or efficacy associated with a medicine. This process is thus quite helpful in minimizing the trial and error phase which is often associated with prescribing a medicine.

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