Should You Take the Hereditary Cancer Gene Test?

What is Hereditary Cancer Gene Testing?

Everyone has a risk of developing cancer in their lifetime. In most people cancer develops by chance, but some people have a genetic predisposition that can increase their risk of developing cancer. Knowing if you have a genetic predisposition can give you and your physician information to try to reduce or prevent your risk of developing cancer.

We all have 2 copies of almost all genes in every cell. One copy is inherited from your mother and one copy is inherited from your father. When you have children, you pass on one copy from each pair to your children. Nothing a parent does before, during or after a pregnancy affects which copy of a gene is passed on.

Some genes can have changes, or misspellings, in how they are written that cause the body to no longer understand them. These changes are called “mutations”. Mutations can be caused by our environment, such as radiation, or they can be inherited. If a parent has a mutation in one copy of a gene, they have a 50% random chance of passing that mutation on to each of their children.

What kinds of cancer are usually checked for?

Asia Genomics offers tests for the following known kinds of hereditary cancer:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer or Cancer of the Uterus
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Paraganglioma and/or Pheocromocytoma Cancer
  • Full Cancer Panels

How is the Test Done?

Our hereditary cancer gene tests are done very easily. Your first move would be to consult your doctor regarding your interest to avail of the test. Once you have obtained consent, then the following steps would be done.

Step 1: Depending on the test, either a simple blood, or saliva sample will be needed.
Step 2: From there, the specimen would be sent to an accredited laboratory that uses the NGS ( Next Generation Sequencing ) technology.
Step 3: Your results will be delivered to your physician. Should there be any questions, we offer post- genetic counselling.

Who should take this test?

There are some features in a person’s personal and family medical history that suggest a hereditary cancer syndrome. They include:

  • Cancer diagnosed at a young age
  • Detected multiple cancer types in the affected individual
  • Cancer in paired organs, eg. Bilateral breast cancer
  • Detected same cancer type in multiple relatives
  • Unusual cancers, eg. Male breast cancer
  • Presence of birth defects such as benign skin growths or skeletal abnormalities known to be associated with inherited cancer syndromes
  • Being a member of an ethnic group known to have increased risk for hereditary cancer syndrome, eg. BRCA mutation in Hereditary Breast and Ovarian cancer in Ashkenazi Jewish.

What kind of results should I expect?

After taking the test, your physician, as advised by our team, will explain to you the presence or none there of, inherited cancer genes in your system. From there you may take necessary steps to hinder your risks from progressing. By finding out early on the possibility of having this condition or possessing harmful mutations you may pass on to your children, you may be able to take the necessary steps to champion prevention or intervention in the beginning stages.