Genetic Testing and Counseling

If you’ve ever wonder whether genetic testing for various type of cancers might be right for you, UMC is here to help you learn more about the process.

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing looks for specific changes in your genes called mutations. This type of testing does not predict whether you will develop cancer in your lifetime but helps estimate your chance of developing cancer in your lifetime. Genetic testing is most often recommended for patients with cancer or for close relatives of patients who have been diagnosed with a genetic mutation because these genes can be passed from parent to child.

Genetic testing is available for breast, ovarian, colon, thyroid, prostate, pancreatic, kidney and stomach cancers as well as melanoma and sarcoma. Only 6%-10% of cancers are thought to be related to an inherited gene mutation.

Do I need genetic testing for cancer?

Genetic testing may be recommended for people who have had certain cancers, or:

  • Several first-degree relatives (mother, father, sisters, brothers, children) with cancer
  • Three or more relatives on one side of the family who have had the same type of cancer
  • A cluster of cancers in your family that are known to be linked to a single gene mutation (such as breastovarian, and pancreatic cancers).
  • A family member with more than 1 type of cancer 
  • Family members who had cancer at an age younger than normal for that type of cancer
  • Rare cancers such as ovarian, pancreatic, male breast cancer or metastatic prostate cancers
  • Ethnicity (for example, Jewish ancestry is linked to ovarian and breast cancers)
  • A physical finding that’s linked to an inherited cancer (such as having many colon polyps)
  • A known genetic mutation in one or more family members who have already had genetic testing

Our genetic testing process

You will meet with a genetic specialist to make sure you understand the test and want to pursue testing. To determine whether you should be tested, you will need to provide as much detail about your family history as possible. You will then provide informed consent for testing to help ensure you understand all the testing procedures and possibilities. Genetic testing through the blood or saliva takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Results will be available in 3-4 weeks.

Insurance coverage for testing

Genetic testing is covered by many health insurance plans. Many of the genetic testing companies also offer financial assistance to help make testing affordable. These options will be discussed at your visit.

To learn more about our genetic testing services call the UMC Cancer Center at 806.775.8600.

Commission on Cancer Accredited Program - A Quality Program of the American College of Surgeons

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