People having a history in their family of some common conditions like heart diseases and cancers such as brain tumors can benefit a lot from genetic testing. In a nutshell, these test helps in identification of genetic mutations or signs, which could warn that a mutation could be present just before the actual disease manifests itself. Genetic testing has many limitations, which must be considered before any testing is undertaken. To ascertain of genetic testing will be helpful to you or not, here is some useful info that will help you.

Connection between genes and cancer

When the genes go haywire and cells are allowed to reproduce and divide without restraint, this leads to the formation of cancer. The surrounding tissues are invaded by these cells thus creating growths. It is well known that occurrence of some cancers is influenced by heredity as mutations are passed on among generations. A person can even carry inherited gene mutation without expressing it fully and thus don’t get the disease.

The working of genetic testing

Presently, various tests are available for adult diseases that are more prevalent like breast, brain, prostate, ovarian, endometrial and colon cancer and even hemochromatosis, cystic fibrosis, kidney disease and coronary heart disease.

Some of these tests usually involve a sample of tumor tissue or blood being taken and the DNA code of the gene is checked as a way of finding the mutation. Inherited risk of cancer is usually identified through this method. Biochemical testing is another form that aims at looking at proteins and enzymes encoded by the genes and are mostly done for determining heart disease risk.

Limitations of genetic testing

There are many limitations that come with genetic testing starting with the fact that the tests aren’t definitive. The findings only reveal that there is a high risk of development of other diseases and doesn’t show when it is going to develop. In addition, just because you have tested negative for a certain gene mutation doesn’t mean that you are necessarily safe. Mutation could be present in another gene, which wasn’t tested. As such, while genetic testing succeeds in providing info that is highly useful, the future can’t be predicted through the tests.

Is getting a genetic testing necessary?

Whether you get a genetic assessment or not is a personal decision to make. This is something you will need to discuss with your doctor. If someone in your family had been diagnosed with brain cancer in the past, it is good that you get genetic testing for brain cancer. This is also true if a family member was diagnosed with another kind of cancer like spinal cord tumor or brain tumor. Genetic testing also has a psychological impact which should also be considered when deciding about going for the test.