Genetic mutations that cause cancers can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic testing may help you to determine whether you are at risk for an inherited gene mutation and therefore whether you might have an increased risk for cancer (or if you’ve already had cancer, if you’re at increased risk for another one).
Genetic counseling accompanies genetic testing, and it can be done before or after testing depending on your individual situation. While more and more insurance companies are now covering these tests, it’s best for you to speak with your insurance provider regarding your individual coverage.
Genetic testing can be done with a mouthwash or a blood test. Samples that are gathered are sent off to trusted medical companies that specialize in reviewing and analyzing these specific lab tests.
The most common genetic tests currently being utilized are:
- Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer
- Hereditary Colon Cancer
- Hereditary Melanoma
Additionally, there are a number of factors that might suggest whether a person is at risk for a hereditary cancer. These factors are broken down by cancer-type below.
Hereditary Breast or Ovarian Cancer
- Breast cancer diagnosed at age 50 or before
- Ovarian cancer at any age
- Two primary breast cancers
- Male breast cancer
- Triple Negative Breast Cancer
- Pancreatic cancer with a breast or ovarian cancer
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
- Two or more relatives with breast cancer (one under the age of 50)
- Three or more relatives with breast cancer (at any age)
- A previously identified BRCA mutation in the family
NOTE: Assessment criteria is based on scientific literature and expert opinion. To review a list of references, please visit: https://www.myriad.com/patients-families/disease-info/breast-cancer/ and https://www.myriad.com/patients-families/disease-info/ovarian-cancer/.
Lynch Syndrome (Colon Cancer)
The following characteristics may indicate that a person has a predisposition for a particular type of colon cancer known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) sometimes known as Lynch syndrome.
An individual with any of the following personal history:
- Colorectal or endometrial cancer before the age of 50
- Multiple cases of colon cancer in successive generations
- Early-onset colon cancer
- Right-sided colon cancers
- Presence of other HNPCC-associated cancers (endometrial, ovarian, stomach, urinary tract)
An individual with any of the following family history:
- Two or more relatives with a Lynch syndrome cancer (one before the age of 50)
- Three or more relatives with a Lynch syndrome cancer (at any age)
- A previously identified Lynch syndrome mutation in the family
NOTE: Lynch-associated cancers include colon, endometrial, gastric, ovarian, ureter/renal pelvis, biliary tract, small bowel, pancreas, brain and sebaceous adenomas. The above Assessment criteria is based on medical society guidelines. To review the medical society guidelines, visit: www.myriadpro.com/guidelines.
Adenomatous Polyposis Syndromes
- Individuals clinically affected with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) (100 or more colorectal adenomas)
- Individuals with multiple colorectal adenomas (usually 10 or more cumulative adenomas)
NOTE: Assessment criteria is based on scientific literature and expert opinion. To review a list of references, please visit: www.myriadpro.com/references.
- Two or more melanomas in an individual or family
- Melanoma and pancreatic cancer in an individual or family
- Relative of a p16 gene mutation carrier
NOTE: Assessment criteria is based on scientific literature and expert opinion. To review a list of references, please visit: https://www.myriad.com/patients-families/disease-info/melanoma/.
Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer
- Pancreatic cancer patient with at least one close relative with pancreatic cancer
- Individual with two or more close relatives with pancreatic cancer
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
- A previously identified PALB2 or BRCA2 gene mutation in the family
NOTE: Assessment criteria is based on scientific literature and expert opinion. To review the guidelines and learn more, please visit: https://www.myriad.com/patients-families/disease-info/pancreatic-cancer/
For more information about genetic testing, please contact your oncology provider.