Learn About Your Cancer Risk Through Genetic Testing

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Genetic testing is a way to learn if a patient is predisposed to having cancer.

According to the New York Daily News, genetic testing isn't just for millionaires anymore. Used mainly in assessing the risk of ovarian, breast and colon cancer, genetic testing is a way to assess a persons inherited risk of having a disease. 

While many cancers are sporadic and caused by changes in a person's cells, some are hereditary. Genetic testing allows patients to learn if they inherited cancer-predisposing mutations with a simple blood test or cheek swab. The samples are then sent to a very specialized molecular genetic testing laboratory.

The results allow patients to take preventative measures, like paying special attention to changes in their breasts, that they otherwise would not have known to take, or to be armed with the knowledge that they do not carry certain harmful genes.

Breast and ovarian cancers have one of the most effective genetic testing options. Genetic testing is able to spot the 10 to 11 percent of ovarian cancer that is inherited and 5-10 percent of breast cancer that is hereditary.

Genetic testing cannot always detect if an inherited predisposition is present. Once the results are received, a person's family history of cancer is considered as well as the genetic testing in order to create a personalized program for cancer surveillance.

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