Get notified of page updates
Inherited Mutations
Read about cancer treatment options listed by gene mutation, type of cancer and type of treatment.

Stay up to date on research and information

Sign Up for FORCE Newsletters
Glossary on

Inherited mutations and cancer

Genes linked to hereditary cancer

About 1 out of 10 cancers is caused by an . The genes listed below have been linked to an increased risk for hereditary  cancer. Note: this is not a complete list.  

* More research is needed to confirm a link between  cancer and an  in these genes.

Genetic testing results may affect cancer treatment and prognosis

  • In addition to increasing lifetime risk for cancer, , (and possibly other genes) have been linked to more aggressive,  disease.
  • People with mCRPC who test positive for an may benefit from targeted or to treat their cancer. 

Get Support
Get Support

FORCE offers many peer support programs for people with inherited mutations. 

Expert Guidelines
Expert Guidelines

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend genetic counseling and testing for the following people with  cancer who have:

  • a tumor test result that suggests an inherited mutation
    • for example, a tumor with a  or  mutation may indicate an in one of those genes 
  • a blood relative who tested positive for an  in a gene linked to  cancer
  •   cancer diagnosed at any age
  • cancer that has spread to the
  • localized cancer (hasn’t spread beyond the ) that is considered very high-risk or high-risk
  • intermediate-risk cancer with intraductal or cribriform features listed on the
  • a diagnosis of male breast cancer
  • Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry
  • one or more relatives with:
    • breast, colorectal or endometrial cancer diagnosed at age 50 or younger
    • male breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer, ovarian cancer or pancreatic cancer at any age
    • , regional, very-high-risk, or high-risk cancer at any age
  • one or more close relatives with cancer diagnosed at age 60 or younger
  • three or more relatives on the same side of the family with biliary tract, breast, colorectal, endometrial, glioblastoma, or other cancers

Speak with a genetic counselor if you have questions about whether you meet guidelines for genetic testing. 

Paying For Care
Paying For Care

Insurance coverage for genetic counseling and testing

Most health plans cover genetic counseling and testing for inherited gene mutations linked to cancer in people who meet the national guidelines. The cost of testing and your out-of-pocket charges may vary based on several factors.

People who are denied coverage for genetic testing can file an appeal (FORCE has sample appeal letters). Your healthcare provider can work with your insurance company and help you file an appeal if needed. Low cost testing may be available for $250 or less. Learn more about coverage for genetic counseling and testing here

If you need information about finding an insurance plan, watch our video: Choosing Wisely: How to Pick Insurance Plans.

testing under the Affordable Care Act

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies must pay for both genetic counseling and  testing with no out-of-pocket costs for women who meet certain criteria. The ACA regulations are limited to testing for and only and do not cover genetic counseling or testing in all situations. You can learn more about testing under the ACA here

Medicare and Medicaid coverage of genetic testing

Genetic counseling and testing is typically covered by Medicare for people already diagnosed with cancer who are in treatment or for whom test results may affect their care. Most state Medicaid programs cover genetic testing for and mutations for people who meet requirements, which vary by state. You can read more about Medicare and Medicaid coverage of genetic testing here.

Financial assistance or low cost genetic testing

JScreen is a national program based out of Emory University that provides low-cost at-home genetic counseling and testing with financial assistance available. Many laboratories offer low-cost genetic testing or financial assistance programs. Programs vary, so if you are not eligible for assistance through one lab, consider contacting other labs to see if you qualify .   

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

The following clinical trials include genetic counseling and testing. 

Other genetic counseling or testing studies may be found here.


Last updated August 24, 2023