Genetic Testing for Cancer

A genetic test can tell if a mutation runs in your family. If you test positive for a gene mutation, your lifetime risk for cancer is increased. There are options available for lowering your cancer risk and for detecting cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage. If you have already been diagnosed with cancer, genetic test results may change your treatment and follow-up options.

Genetic Counseling in Middle Tennessee

Genetic counselors are experts in hereditary cancer who will help you understand whether the cancer in your family is hereditary and what to do about it.

A genetic counselor will:

  • Review your family health history and explain your risk for cancer.
  • Discuss whether you are a candidate for gene testing and describe the benefits and limitations of testing.
  • Help you order the appropriate genetic test if you choose to proceed with testing.
  • Interpret gene test results and explain what they mean for you and your family.
  • Discuss how to manage your cancer risk and provide recommendations in a written summary report to you and your doctor for follow-up care.

Does Cancer Run in Your Family?

Hereditary cancers occur when a person carries a change (mutation) in a gene that normally protects the body from developing cancer. This change increases a person’s risk for one or more types of cancer and can be passed from generation to generation. Genetic counseling is recommended if you or any family had:

  • Cancer at age 50 of younger
  • More than one cancer diagnosis
  • More than five colon polpys
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Triple negative breast cancer (ER, PR, HER2 negative)
  • 2 or more family members on the same side of the family with colon, uterine or stomach cancer
  • 2 or more family members on the same side of the family with breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer
  • Medullary thyroid cancer, adrenocortical carcinoma, pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma
  • Known cancer gene muttion (such as BRCA1/2 or HNPCC/Lynch geners or others)