How to go about getting a gene mutation testIt is essential that you keep in mind the fact that most cases of cancer aren’t related to the history of your family. Only between 5 and 10 percent of cancer diagnosis are the resulted of an inherited cause. Going for genetic testing is an effective way of identifying people with a high risk of developing a certain kind of cancer. Abnormal genes can be inherited from a parent and inheriting any of such genes keeps you at a high likelihood of developing cancer at a much younger age. Colorectal, breast, ovarian, pancreatic, endometrial and prostate cancers tend to run in a family. However, most of the cancers today have much to do with lifestyle choices such as smoking, eating unhealthy foods and not exercising.

Map cancer history in your family

Gauging of inherited cancer can be done by mapping out the history of cancer in your family. You can start by using a family history form obtained from the surgeon’s office and asking your relatives to fill in a lot of information as they possibly can. Special attention should be paid to cancer history of both 1st and end degree blood relatives. The first degree relatives basically include siblings, children and parents while second degree includes grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces. Generally, people with a high risk of inherited cancer usually some family members already diagnosed with:

  • A similar type of cancer
  • Cancer at a very young age – below 50 years
  • Different types of cancers in one person
  • Rare cancer like sarcoma or male breast cancer
  • BRCA1/ BRCA2 mutation

Weigh all the testing pros and cons carefully

After completing the form, talk to your family doctor using it about your cancer risk. Based on the family history at hand, you will be referred to a professional genetic counselor by the doctor who will review the medical history of your family and discuss with you the role played by genetics after which he will perform a risk assessment for hereditary cancer. The assessment will cover:

  • Your odds of getting a genetic mutation
  • Estimates of your risk for cancer
  • Personalized recommendations for your genetic testing
  • Personalized recommendations on cancer screening & prevention


A genetic testing will be recommended by the counselor depending on the results of your cancer risk assessment which involves drawing of blood.

<h2>Weigh all the testing pros and cons carefully</h2>

A key benefit of knowing that you have the genetic mutation is being able to address the risks and monitor the situation with the help of your doctor. However, keep in mind that your decision of going for genetic testing will also affect your family. Regardless of your decision, keep in mind the fact that having a gene mutation does not mean that you will get cancer.