Precision GU Logo

The Genetics of Hereditary Cancer

We are pleased to offer genetic testing to our patients. Using our Precision GU genetic test, we are able to provide personalized valuable information using a precision approach.

Understanding your genetic makeup will empower you to make more informed decisions with respect to your healthcare. This knowledge can provide peace of mind and enables you to move forward with your life.

Our doctors use innovative, state of the art tools to determine if genetic testing is right for you and are available to answer your questions and help guide you through your decision-making process. If you so choose, you may seek additional advice from a genetic counselor.

Did you know that many cancers are hereditary, and your genetic code is the key to unlocking the answers?

Genetic testing may help predict your risk for a variety of diseases and whether your children may inherit this risk. This knowledge can bring peace of mind and if needed, help you and your care team more precisely guide your health care decision making.

What Information Will Genetic Testing Provide?

Whether you are concerned about a possible predisposition to certain cancers because of your family medical history, are managing a cancer previously diagnosed or are dealing with a cancer that was recently detected, genetic testing may provide valuable answers.

Hereditary cancer means that the disease is caused by a mutation in one or more of a person’s genes. This genetic predisposition is passed down from a parent to a child. Hereditary cancers often occur at an earlier age and can be more aggressive.

If your test does not show a genetic mutation, this means that you were not found to be at an increased risk for developing cancer based on genetics alone. While this does not guarantee you will not develop cancer, a negative result can be empowering for you and your family.

If you test positive, there is a 50% chance that parents, siblings, and children also inherited this same mutation. In addition, this mutation may also be associated with an increased risk for other cancers separate from the one that was already diagnosed such as colon, stomach, or breast.

What Are the Benefits of Genetic Testing?

Finding out if you have an inherited risk for cancer can be a useful tool. It:

  • May provide an explanation for your personal and/or family history of cancer
  • Helps your doctor make informed decisions about potential treatments and surveillance
  • Clarifies your risk for developing other cancers and additional screening options for early diagnosis
  • Identifies other relatives who may benefit from genetic testing

How is Genetic Testing Done?

Genetic testing involves a simple blood test that looks for changes in your genetic profile. The blood will be drawn at your ARC doctor’s office and processed in our own lab. Your genetic testing will be customized to your specific needs.

Who Should Have Genetic Testing?

Your provider will determine if genetic testing is appropriate. Testing may be offered if you or a close relative have:

  • A diagnosis of cancer at an early age, such as breast cancer diagnosed before age 50
  • A diagnosis of ovarian, pancreatic or aggressive and/or advanced prostate cancer
  • Multiple relatives on the same side of the family with the same or associated cancers, such as breast, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, colorectal, uterine or stomach
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
  • A relative who tested positive for a change in one of their genes (genetic variant) related to cancer risk

Is Genetic Testing Covered by Your Health Insurance?

Genetic testing is covered by most insurance plans. If you do not wish to go through your insurance, a private pay option is available.

As always, be assured that we are committed to protecting your privacy.

What Are the Potential Results from Genetic Testing?

There are three possible test findings which you can expect.

  • Positive: A positive result means that an inherited gene mutation was found that may increase your risk for certain cancers.
  • Negative: A negative test result means that there were no mutations found in the genes tested. Your risk for developing cancer may be based on other factors such as your personal or family medical history.
  • Variant of Uncertain Significance (VUS): A variant of uncertain significance (VUS) result indicates a change in at least one of the genes tested. However, scientific knowledge does not yet provide enough information about whether this specific change will increase your risk for certain cancers. This result should not be used to guide your medical care.

It is very possible that your genetic testing will not reveal the presence of any mutations. Your doctor will discuss the implications of your genetic test findings in relation to your personal and family history.

To see if you are a candidate for genetic testing, speak with your Advanced Radiation Centers of New York caregiver.