This article will discuss genetic cancer screening and its potential benefits, how it differs from routine cancer screening (e.g., mammograms/prostate), and how to know if you should get tested.
What is genetic cancer screening, and what are its benefits?
Genetic cancer screening is done by giving a blood sample. Your blood is then tested for up to 53 genes indicating your risk of developing different types of common hereditary cancers.
This test is helpful if you want to understand your unique risk level of developing cancer or want to use the test to explore treatment options if you have been diagnosed with cancer. It can also help you understand why certain types of cancer are common in your family. For example, it may explain why several women in your family have had breast cancer.
How is genetic cancer screening different from routine cancer screening?
A mammogram (the test done to check for breast cancer) is the current standard for breast cancer testing. However, if your mammogram shows an unclear spot or dense breast tissue and your healthcare provider is unaware of your genetic cancer risk, he or she may decide to “wait and see” if it is something to worry about. But if your doctor knows that you have an increased risk of breast cancer and sees these results on your mammogram, he or she may be more likely to take a biopsy.
Genetic cancer screening also differs from prostate cancer screening. As with breast and ovarian cancer in women, genetic cancer screening can also detect an increased risk of prostate cancer in men. Genetic cancer screening can often detect cancer earlier than traditional prostate cancer screening.
How do I know if I should get tested?
You should get tested to assess your genetic cancer risk if there is a family history of cancer, even if it is a different type of cancer. For example, maybe your uncle had lung cancer. Still, your mother had ovarian cancer; rather than, say, multiple women in your family had breast cancer or multiple men in your family had prostate cancer.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you should get genetic cancer screening if you do not know your family health history, such as if you were adopted.
Genetic Cancer Screening With Drip Hydration
This service provides insight for those who want to know more about their risk of developing cancer, why it might be common in their family, or want to inform treatment options following a cancer diagnosis.
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