If cancer runs in your family or you have been diagnosed with cancer and are curious if an inherited gene mutation was part of the reason, genetic testing may provide valuable insight into your health. One of the most obvious benefits of genetic testing is to better understand your risk to particular cancers, but there are many other benefits to your health as well.
1. Early Detection Improves Odds of Survival
Genetic testing can provide valuable insight into your health. Testing positive for a hereditary cancer syndrome changes how your health care team takes care of you—your healthcare provider will put together a personalized plan for your that includes early screening as well as ways to prevent cancer. Cancer screening can improve survival and decrease mortality by detecting cancer at an early stage when treatment is more effective.
2. Your results can be informative for your family
If your test results indicate that you have a gene mutation for a hereditary cancer syndrome, there’s a 50 percent chance that your siblings or children have the same mutation. With this information, your family members may choose to have genetic testing done to learn their risk for cancer. If they, too, are at an increased risk for cancer, they are armed with knowledge on how to take a proactive stance on their health.
Alternatively, if their results indicate that they do not carry that same gene mutation, they can be reassured that they do not have a higher risk of developing certain types of cancers—in fact, their risk is likely the same as the average population.
3. If you’ve already been diagnosed with cancer, it may change your cancer treatment
For patients who have already been diagnosed with cancer, a positive test result for a gene mutation associated with certain hereditary cancer syndromes can impact how their cancer is treated. Some hereditary cancer syndromes interfere with the body’s ability to repair damage that occurs to cellular DNA, meaning standard doses of chemotherapy or radiation can produce severe side effects. Knowing about a genetic mutation before being treated allows physicians to modify and personalize your treatment This reduces the severity of harmful side effects.
Genetic testing can provide valuable insight to you and your family’s health, allowing you to take a proactive stance on your future through a personalized care plan. Hereditary Cancer Support is here to help you along the way. Take our quiz to see if you might be at risk for a hereditary cancer syndrome or give us a call at (855) 252-8124 to speak with one of our Patient Care Coordinators.