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Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancer

Learn about genes and cancer, signs of hereditary cancer, genetic counseling, types of genetic tests and what results mean for you and your family.

Genetic test panels

Since the Supreme Court invalidated gene patents in 2013, several laboratories have begun to offer gene panels that test for BRCA and other genes associated with hereditary cancer risk.

Some of these panel tests are specific for certain cancers, such as breast and/or ovarian, while others search for gene mutations that are associated with multiple types of hereditary cancers.  A typical breast and/or ovarian cancer test panel looks for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as other genes associated with increased breast and ovarian cancer risk.

Not all panel tests look for mutations in the same genes, so it is important to consult with a genetic counselor or medical geneticist to help you determine which panel test is right for you. 

FORCE recommends consulting with a qualified genetics professional prior to undergoing genetic testing to assure that the appropriate tests are ordered and interpreted correctly. 

Updated 12/30/16

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