Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I need to take a genetic test?
Take the risk quiz! Our online assessment is based on guidelines doctors use to determine whether or not genetic testing could benefit you. Click here to get started.
How is my DNA collected?
A specimen kit will be shipped to you home. You can either provide a saliva sample or go to your doctor’s office for a blood draw.
What is done with my DNA after it’s tested?
After testing the DNA specimen will be destroyed after 90 days in case any additional testing is required. Your DNA test results will be securely stored at the testing facility and you will be notified if any new disease causing mutations are identified.
What do I do if my results are positive?
Our tests only identify medically actionable mutations. Whether or not your results are positive, you will be offered genetic counseling to review your results or you may review your results with your healthcare provider. You will work  together to determine how your results may affect your future screening plans and healthcare management.
What do genetic counselors do?
Advanced Practice Genetics Nurses (APGNs) and Genetic Counselors (GCs) work as a special member of the healthcare team, providing a review of an individual and family’s medical history and performing a risk assessment, doing a family tree (pedigree), providing education and support to identify appropriate genetic testing, interpreting test results, providing supportive education about genetics, and serving as patient advocates.

Other healthcare providers can order genetic testing; however, because these providers may not have expertise in genetics, some patients may receive results they do not understand, or may have questions that leave them confused and worried. APGNs and GCs are board-certified and have advanced genetics training that can help you interpret your test results, guide and support you as you seek more information about how inherited diseases or conditions may affect your family and/or you, and keep you up to date with rapidly changing discoveries in genetics that can impact your future healthcare management.

How can I reduce my risk of developing cancer?
If you test positive for a hereditary cancer gene, your genetic counselor, genetics nurse, or healthcare provider will come up with a special cancer risk reduction plan. 

Most cases of cancer are not hereditary. Getting your recommended cancer screening tests, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake are some of the things experts agree on to lower cancer risk.

How much does the genetic test cost?
Costs vary depending on the specific testing you require. Most insurance carriers cover genetic testing services for people with a family history of hereditary cancer. Although each case is unique, insurance usually covers 90%, and the average patient pays nothing out of pocket. We can help you get the best possible reimbursement for your genetic test with the goal of making sure you receive the appropriate coverage from your insurance plan. If you do not have insurance, financial assistance and payment programs may be available.
Is the genetic test covered by insurance?
Most insurance carriers cover genetic testing services for people with a family history of hereditary cancer. Although each case is unique, insurance usually covers 90%, and the average patient pays nothing out of pocket. We can help you get the best possible reimbursement for your genetic test with the goal of making sure you receive the appropriate coverage from your insurance plan.
If my testing does not proceed for insurance reasons, what happens to my specimen?
If, for any reason, your specimen is not tested it will be destroyed by the laboratory. It will not be used for research or any other purposes without your express permission.
My relative tested positive for a hereditary cancer gene mutation. Why do you need a copy of these test results to test me?
Knowing the specific mutation in your relative allows the laboratory to perform single-site mutation testing since the exact address of the mutation is known. This is a more efficient and cost-effective approach that will likely be mandated by your insurer in this situation. Patients who test negative for single site mutation testing may then be offered a multi-gene hereditary cancer panel.
If I proceed with genetic testing, can I be discriminated against at my job, or getting health insurance?
Many people worry that if they have genetic testing, they could be discriminated against based on their genetics. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 protects Americans from discrimination based on their genetic information in both health insurance and employment. 

Health insurers cannot use genetic information to make eligibility, coverage, underwriting, or premium-setting decisions. They also are forbidden to ask or demand that you  or your family members take a genetic test or provide them with any genetic information.

Employers cannot use genetic information in employment decisions such as hiring, firing, promotions, pay, and job assignments. Furthermore, GINA prohibits employers, agencies, unions, or apprenticeship programs from asking or demanding that you take a genetic test or provide them with any genetic information as a condition of employment.

If I test positive, at what age should my children be tested?
For most hereditary cancer tests, testing is not recommended until patients reach 18 years (age of consent).