About 1 in 10 people with cancer carry an identifiable genetic change that predisposes them to developing cancer.
Changes in two genes — BRCA1 and BRCA2 — are known to greatly increase the risk of breast cancer. However, several other genes can contribute to breast cancer risk, and there are dozens of genes associated with other types of hereditary cancer syndromes. Identifying an individual who carries a hereditary risk of cancer can help guide that person’s medical decisions.
Because of the complexity of the medical and psychological issues involved with genetic testing, a consultation with a genetic counselor is recommended to help you make an informed decision. For example, a genetic counselor can help you consider the following issues:
- The likelihood that you carry a hereditary risk of cancer
- How genetic test results would affect your medical decision-making and your family
- Cost, confidentiality and psychological preparedness for testing
If you decide to move forward with genetic testing, a genetic counselor will guide you through the process and ensure you and your health care providers can best use the information in your care.
You may use the information learned from genetic testing to consider starting breast cancer screenings earlier than typically recommended or seeking treatments to reduce your breast cancer risk.
Learn about your options if you are at a high risk for developing breast cancer.
To schedule a consultation with a genetic counselor or for more information, call the Centegra Sage Cancer Center at 815-344-8000.