Who Needs Genetic Testing?
Between 5% to 15% of cancer cases are related to genetics, Genetic testing is a powerful tool to identify those individuals who are at especially increased risk for developing certain cancers because of family history. You can inherit an abnormal gene from either one of your parents. And, if you inherit a gene linked to cancer, you’re much more likely to develop the disease — and at a younger age. Breast, colorectal, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic and endometrial cancers sometimes run in the family. But most cancers are related to lifestyle choices like smoking, not exercising and eating unhealthy foods.
Map your family’s cancer history.
You can begin to gauge your risk for an inherited cancer gene by mapping your family’s cancer history. Speak with relatives to fill in as much information as possible. Pay special attention to the cancer histories of first- and second-degree blood relatives. First-degree relatives include siblings, parents and children. Second-degree relatives include grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.