Hereditary Cancer Testing

In the past three decades, great strides have been made understanding the genes involved in hereditary forms of cancer.

Hereditary cancers are rare, usually representing fewer than 10% of cases, but they are the most amenable to genetic testing.

Genetic testing for inherited cancers offers an opportunity for prevention and tailored treatments.

Why is hereditary cancer testing important?

Erica is a 45 year-old patient of yours who was diagnosed with invasive ductal adenocarcinoma of the breast two years ago and successfully treated. Her paternal aunt also had breast cancer and died at 48 years of age.  Despite her positive family history, Erica never underwent genetic testing.

why is hereditary cancer testing important

When she did develop cancer, you assumed there was no point to testing her. Besides, it’s expensive and you had heard that not all testing was covered by insurance. On her next visit to your office Erica asks you about genetic testing. Her sister Jane’s doctor recommended genetic testing for Jane, but suggested that the testing would be more informative if Erica were to get tested first.

There are currently over 100 hereditary breast cancer tests on the market. They range in size from just a couple of genes to dozens. Selecting which panel to order can be daunting. Where do you begin?

Join Dr. Jeanette McCarthy, a genome scientist and leading educator in the field of precision medicine, to learn how to implement cancer genetic testing in your practice.

Learn about hereditary cancer testing

Many health care providers may not feel comfortable offering cancer testing to their patients because they are uncertain about the following:

  • Who should have genetic testing

  • How to select a cancer panel test to order

  • How to interpret genetic test results

  • What the risk of various cancer(s) are for a given gene

  • How to find information for managing patients undergoing genetic testing

  • What the latest guidelines say about genetic testing for cancer

If you are interested in learning about more, check out our online course, Hereditary Cancer Testing.


Hereditary cancer resources

Find practical resources for implementing hereditary cancer testing, such as:

  • Common hereditary cancers and their associated genes

  • Management guidelines for cancer genetics testing

  • Labs offering cancer genetics testing