Guidelines for genetic testing in people diagnosed with cancer
Up to 10% of men with cancer have an inherited mutation that caused their cancer. There are national guidelines that outline which men with cancer should have genetic counseling and testing for an inherited mutation. Men with cancer, should speak with a genetics expert about genetic testing if they have any of the following:
- a tumor test result suggests an inherited mutation (for example, a , or mutation in the tumor that may indicate an inherited mutation in one of those genes).
- a blood relative who tested positive for an inherited mutation in a gene linked to cancer.
- metastic cancer diagnosed at any age.
- cancer that is categorized as very-high- or high-risk based on pathology.
- also diagnosed with male breast cancer.
- Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry.
- one or more first-, second-, or third-degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 or younger, or , ovarian, pancreatic, male breast cancer, prostate cancer at any age.
- two or more close relatives diagnosed with breast or cancer at any age.
Men with the following are unlikely to have an inherited mutation:
- diagnosed with localized cancer with a gleason score of <7 and:
- no prior history of breast or pancreatic cancer
- no first-,second-, or third-degree relative who was diagnosed with breast, ovarian, pancreatic or cancer.
Other people who may benefit from genetic counseling and testing
You may benefit from additional genetic counseling and expanded genetic testing if you:
- you have intermediate-risk cancer with intraductal/cribriform histology
- had genetic testing in the past, you tested negative, and the following applies to you:
- you had a test that only looked for one or a few genes, or
- you had genetic testing before 2014. Genetic testing has improved, and laboratories can now find gene mutations that may have previously been missed.
cancer survivors and those in treatment should speak with a genetics expert to see if testing is right for them.
Guidelines for genetic testing for relatives of people who have been diagnosed with cancer
Genetic counseling and testing is also recommended for anyone with a first-degree or second-degree relative who has been diagnosed with or high-grade cancer.
See our sections Testing Guidelines by Cancer Type and Genetic Testing for People Who Have Never Been Diagnosed with Cancer for additional guideline information.
Health care providers who are specially trained in genetics can help you more clearly understand your risk for . The following resources can help you locate a genetics expert in your area.
- The National Society of Genetic Counselor website offers a searchable directory for finding a genetic counselor by state and specialty. To find a genetic counselor who specializes in cancer genetics, choose "cancer" under the options "Area of Practice/Specialization."
- InformedDNA is a network of board-certified genetic counselors providing this service by telephone. They can also help you find a qualified expert in your area for face-to-face genetic counseling if that is your preference.
- JScreen is a national program based out of Emory University that provides low-cost at-home genetic counseling and testing with financial assistance available.
- Grey Genetics provides access to genetic counselors who offer genetic counseling by telephone.
- The Genetic Support Foundation offers genetic counseling with board-certified genetic counselors.
- FORCE's toll-free helpline at: 866-288-RISK, ext. 704 will connect you with a volunteer board-certified genetic counselor who can answer general questions about genetic testing and cancer and help you find a genetics expert near you.
- FORCE Peer Navigator Program will match you with a volunteer who has undergone genetic counseling and can help you navigate resources to find a genetic counselor near you.
- Ask your doctor for a referral to a genetics expert.
The following organizations offer peer support services for people with, or at high risk for cancer:
- FORCE peer support
- Visit our message boards.
- Once you register, you can post on the Diagnosed With Cancer board to connect with other people who have been diagnosed.
- Sign up for our Peer Navigation Program.
- Users are matched with a volunteer who shares your mutation and situation.
- Join our private Facebook group.
- Find a virtual or in-person support meeting.
- Join a Zoom community group meeting.
- Visit our message boards.
- ZERO - The End of Cancer is a nonprofit organization that provides information and support resources for men with cancer.