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Rheta Mankin | Lewisvilleflower

Genetic Testing to Determine Cancer Risk

Mar 10th 2015 at 4:22 AM

There is much that science still needs to learn about the role that genetics plays in cancer. We do know there are particular types of cancer that tend to run in families, making our risk for developing that certain cancer higher than others. This is considered a risk factor - just as smoking, diet, and carcinogen exposure are each considered to be a risk factor. The difference, of course, is that those risk factors are things that we have control over - we can eat better, exercise, and quit smoking to at least lower our risk of developing certain types of cancer. But genetics is something we can’t do anything about; the best we can do is take the steps to learn our risk so that we can work with our doctors to make the best possible decisions for our health.

The type of genetic testing that is most often done with regard to assessing cancer risk is called predictive gene testing. This type of testing helps determine if there any gene mutations that increase a person’s risk for developing a particular cancer. Predictive gene testing is done when there is a family history for a certain type of cancer.

Genetic testing isn’t appropriate for everyone but it may be helpful when:

• There is a family history of a particular type of cancer. For instance, if breast cancer runs in your family, testing can be specifically performed to look for mutations to the breast cancer gene.

• A patient has multiple first-degree relatives that have been diagnosed with cancer - parents, siblings, etc. This is especially important if these family members have been diagnosed with the same types of cancer.

• There is a history of family members developing cancer at an earlier than average age.

Patients who are concerned with their family history should speak to their doctor about the possibility of genetic testing as a part of an overall healthcare plan.

About Lewisville Flower Mound Oncology

As a division of Choice Cancer Care, the Lewisville Flower Mound Oncology group has a patient-first philosophy. This is meant to help patients maintain a positive outlook while they undergo cutting-edge treatments to battle cancer. Our certified medical oncology and haematology physicians Dr. James Mackey and Dr. Kiran Kancharla along with our experienced and trained medical staff offer patients access to top-notch oncology care for breast, colon and other cancers in a comfortable environment with free and convenient parking. For more information you can visit

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