Understand your risk with Hereditary Cancer Screening
What is hereditary cancer screening?
While cancer is normally considered to be caused by a combination of environmental and lifestyle factors, there is a third component: genetic variants (changes in a gene) that you may have inherited from your parents. Your personal and family history of cancer can help you determine if hereditary cancer testing might be right for you.
Examples of a strong personal or family history of cancer can include:
- Cancer at an early age
- The presence of rare cancers
- Multiple relatives with the same type of cancer
- One relative diagnosed with multiple primary cancers
1 in 12 patients has a family history consistent with hereditary cancer.1
Of the 1.4 million women with a family history of breast/ovarian cancer who met testing criteria, only 13.8% underwent genetic testing.2
Over 98% of those with Lynch Syndrome (the most common cause of colorectal cancer) are not aware of their genetic variant status.3
Benefits of hereditary cancer screening
The Hereditary Cancer Panel gives you a personalized risk assessment of your chance to develop hereditary cancer in your lifetime. This curated panel of 32 genes has been designed to give you clear and actionable information that you and your healthcare provider can use to develop a risk management plan.
- Learn your risk of developing certain hereditary cancers
- Explore opportunities to receive early preventative procedures, risk reducing surgeries, or medication to prevent cancer from developing
- Develop a risk management plan with your care team
- Implement lifestyle changes that could improve health outcomes
- Understand potential cancer risks for family members
- Learn how your cancer risks could impact family planning and consider other potential reproductive options
Use cases in which early insights help our patients
Elizabeth is 32 years old and thinking about starting a family. She recently learned that her paternal grandmother had breast cancer when she was 42 years old, but because it was so long ago, never had genetic testing. Her grandmother had 5 sons, one of whom is Elizabeth’s father. Because there are no biologically female relatives in between Elizabeth and her grandmother, it’s hard to know if more people would have had breast cancer had there been more females. As Elizabeth begins to plan out the next several years of her life, the knowledge of a genetic mutation in her family that would increase her risk for breast cancer can help her make informed decisions around family planning and cancer surveillance.
Proactive Cancer Surveillance
David recently saw a special on the local news about Lynch syndrome—the most common cause for hereditary colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, David’s father passed away from colon cancer when David was just a boy, so he never had the opportunity to learn more about his diagnosis or ask questions. David now has grown children and grandchildren of his own and wants to make sure he can prepare himself and his family for any obstacles ahead of them. By learning if he has Lynch syndrome or another hereditary cancer syndrome, he can increase his cancer surveillance and share this information with his children so they can be tested too.
Understanding Familial Risks
Last Thanksgiving, Cindy was happily reconnecting with her extended family, whom she hadn’t seen in many years. In one conversation, her aunt mentioned several cousins who had been diagnosed young of “female cancers”, but no one could specify what exactly those cancers were. Cindy found herself frustrated that due to taboos in her culture, her family could not talk openly about the female body and associated health problems. Determined to not let this lack of clarity stand in the way of being informed about her health, Cindy spoke with her healthcare provider about hereditary cancer testing so she could get more information about her family’s cancer risks.
Hereditary Cancer Panel
The Hereditary Cancer Panel screens for variants in 32 genes with well-established cancer risk associations and management guidelines. These genes are linked to an increased risk of developing cancer across 8 different cancer sites, including:
View the complete list of genes included in the Hereditary Cancer Panel below:
Our board-certified genetic counselors are here to help you understand your risk of inheriting certain types of cancer based on your family history and explore if hereditary cancer screening is right for you. After the screening, we offer genetic information sessions to discuss your results, answer any questions, review guidelines for cancer risk management, and share ways this information can influence your health decisions moving forward. Genetic counseling services may also be available through your healthcare provider. Speak with your provider for additional details.
Coverage and Affordability
Hereditary cancer screening can help you and your provider develop a risk management plan, and we don’t want cost to impact your access to proactive health insights. Our Patient Care team works directly with insurance providers to learn about prior authorization requirements and coverage of hereditary cancer screening, so you know what to expect. If you do not have insurance or have insurance coverage concerns, we offer financial assistance and self-pay options.
Your Hereditary Cancer Report is designed to clearly show you if any mutations were identified in any of the 32 tested genes that increase your risk for cancer.
A positive result means a pathogenic variant was identified in one or more genes. In addition to listing the affected gene or genes the variant was found in, the report includes risk levels for each type of cancer associated with that gene variant. It is important to remember that a positive result is not a diagnosis of cancer, nor is it a guarantee that you will develop the disease. Our genetic counselors are available to help you interpret your results and answer any questions and your provider can support you in developing a risk management plan.
A negative result means no pathogenic variants were found in the genes screened, but the report may still include information about any elevated risks that were detected for certain types of cancer. If you have a strong family history of cancer, you may still be at an elevated risk even if your results are negative and may consider being evaluated by a genetic counselor who specializes in hereditary cancer.
In a small percentage of test, we may identify a gene change known as a variant of unknown significance (VUS). A VUS is a genetic change that has not yet been proven as either disease-causing or benign. Therefore, a VUS should be treated as a “negative” result until further information is known. A VUS does not change cancer surveillance guidelines. With time, a mutation classified as a VUS may be reclassified as either pathogenic or benign as more information becomes available.
- Scheuner, M. T., McNeel, T. S., & Freedman, A. N. (2010). Population prevalence of familial cancer and common hereditary cancer syndromes. The 2005 California Health Interview Survey. Genetics in medicine: official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics, 12(11), 726–735. https://doi.org/10.1097/GIM.0b013e3181f30e9e
- Childers, C. P., Childers, K. K., Maggard-Gibbons, M., & Macinko, J. (2017). National estimates of genetic testing in women with a history of breast or ovarian cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 35(34), 3800-3806. https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2017.73.6314
- Patel, Swati G. Swati G., Ahnen, Dennis J. Dennis J., Kinney, Anita Y. Anita Y., Horick, N. N., Finkelstein, Dianne M. Dianne M., Hill, Deirdre A. Deirdre A., Lindor, L. L., Macrae, F. F., & Lowery, Jan T. Jan T. (2016). Knowledge and uptake of genetic counseling and colonoscopic screening among persons at increased risk for lynch syndrome and their endoscopists from the family health promotion project. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 111(2), 285-293. https://doi.org/10.1038/ajg.2015.397