The goal of RISK ASSESSMENT is to help determine if you may have a higher risk of developing cancer.
- If cancer runs in your family, or if you have had precancerous biopsies, or other risks factors, it will help guide screenings.
- If you are a survivor, it can help clarify steps you can take if you or other family members are at risk for the same or other cancers.
- If you are newly-diagnosed, it may help you decide how to proceed with certain treatment decisions.
Your assessment is based on a detailed medical history, including tests and biopsies that may have been done in the past, as well as your family history of cancer.
A calculated risk analysis may be done in addition to genetic testing. Gathering medical records, test reports, and accurate family information before your visit is extremely helpful.
We do encourage calling or even bringing other family members to your visit. Personal and family attitudes may play a role in decisions to test, and will be explored along with any questions you may have about risk analysis and/or testing.
The purpose of GENETIC TESTING is to determine if you carry a hereditary risk for cancer.
After risk assessment and counseling, you will give your informed consent in writing if you wish to move forward and have testing. Discussion will include:
- Test accuracy and limitations, and meaning of results to you and/or family
- Pros and cons and alternatives to testing
- Screening or treatment decisions that might be based on different test results
- Possible consent to use results for research purposes
- Support services, and the right to refuse testing
The most common genetic testing methods use blood or saliva.
Sampling can be done at the office during your visit, or a kit can be sent directly To Your Home.
Post testing CONSULTATION time is used to interpret test results and review how results may affect you and/or your family.
Test results are usually back to our office within 1-4 weeks. During your consultation, you will be given a full copy of the test report, and the doctor will review how the results relate to your medical care. You can decide to share your results with your referring or any other physician at that visit.
- If you have a positive result, it means that you have a genetic variant (mutation) that is associated with a higher risk of developing cancer. The impact this mutation may have on your overall lifetime cancer risk will be discussed . We will help you review ways in which to lower your potential risk, or adapt your monitoring so that cancers can be diagnosed at earlier, more easily-treated stages. We will also discuss impact on family members and advise who may benefit from testing and when it should be offered.
- If your test result is negative, the cancer gene mutations you were tested for were not found, and the risk of developing related cancers is reduced. Keep in mind, however, that your overall risk may still be elevated based on medical history, an as yet undiscovered mutation, or other risk factors. How this relates to your risk will be discussed in detail.
- If the test result shows a Variance of Uncertain Significance (VUS), it means a variant (mutation) was noted, but there is not enough information to determine if the variant (mutation) increases your risk of developing cancer. Over time, updates from the testing labs clarify whether a VUS should be ‘upgraded’ to a ‘positive’ (i.e. cancer-related) mutation, or ‘downgraded’ to a ‘negative’ (i.e. benign, noncancer-related) variant. How to proceed with current medical decision-making will be discussed. Instructions for follow up on genetic test updates will also provided.