Learning your family’s hereditary risks will allow you to take steps to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Your genes are the messages that you inherit from your parents and help define who you are. They are the blueprint for your height, the color of your eyes, even the likelihood of developing cancer.
Genetic testing looks for a mistake in a gene called a mutation; this mistake would make the gene not function correctly in the body, sometimes causing cancer.
New cancer genetic testing options have recently been developed.
If you or your family went through testing in the past, and no inherited cause was found, it may be valuable to go back for another visit to look at whether new tests may provide an answer.
Different tests exist for different genetic conditions linked with increased cancer risk. After reviewing your family’s medical history your genetic counselor will determine if genetic testing would be helpful for you and your family, which test would be best, and who is the best person to first test.
To gather your DNA for testing, a simple blood draw or mouthwash sample is done in a comfortable setting and is over quickly.
Learning the results can help you, your immediate family, and future generations understand the inherited chances for cancer in the family and who has inherited an increased chance for specific cancers. Once this is understood, then you and your relatives can make better medical decisions.
This information is presented through a partnership of the Colon Cancer Coalition and the Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association (MNGCA).
Information on these pages is provided for informational purposes only. Consult your own physician before making any medical decisions.