We know from research that up to 10% of cancers are due to factors that are passed from one generation to the next. These syndromes are known as hereditary cancers, and there are certain genetic tests that can determine an individual’s risk for developing these cancers. If you have reason to suspect that you or someone you know may be at risk for cancer, such as a family history of cancer, membership in an at-risk ethnic population, or other factor, we encourage genetic testing to be strongly considered.
There are many benefits to getting tested, regardless of the eventual result. If a family member had cancer, however distant, there is a chance that a gene mutation was inherited that not only increases the present or future risk but also could be passed along to the next generation. If you or someone you know is a carrier of a hereditary cancer gene mutation, it could signal a risk for getting cancer earlier in life than someone in the general population. The sooner testing takes place; the easier it is to manage the risk appropriately.
Remember: Your healthcare professional is your most valuable source of information and advice about hereditary cancer screening.
To begin the process of seeing if genetic testing is right for you, check out Myriad’s Hereditary Cancer Quiz.