Prevention is always preferable to treatment – and, when it comes
to cancer, genetic screening and counseling are valuable, often life-saving
tools. A risk for cancer can be inherited in that the genetic mutations
(changes) can trigger development of precancerous or cancerous cells.
For certain types of cancer, genetic testing can help predict the odds
you will develop the disease; genetic counseling by trained professionals
helps interpret the results so you can arrive at an informed decision
on the steps you want to take to prevent cancer.
Our Torrance Memorial Cancer Institute staff works closely with the professionals at
Informed DNA for genetic testing and counseling. Genetic testing and counseling is
generally suggested for patients who meet the following criteria; whether
or not to go through with the process is up to you.
- You have a close family member (parent, sibling, aunt or uncle or first
cousin) with a known inherited gene mutation, including BRCA1 or BRCA2
- Two or more of your close family members have had the same type of cancer
- Several generations of your family have had the same type of cancer
- You were diagnosed with breast, colon or uterine cancer before age 50 or
ovarian cancer at any age
- You were diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, such as male breast cancer
How Genetic Testing Works
The first appointment involves meeting with a genetic counselor and filling
out a lengthy questionnaire. The test itself consists of a blood or saliva
test to obtain samples of your DNA. These are analyzed in a lab and sent
back. You will have an opportunity to discuss your results with a genetic
counselor, who can help you understand your options.
Using your genetic test results, you and your doctor can collaborate on
a plan of action designed to help you stay healthy. Options may include
lifestyle change, taking medication or, in certain cases, surgical procedures.
For More Information
Cancer Resource Center for additional information regarding Genetic Testing and Counseling, call
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