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Statistics - Genetic Testing and Cancer

Genetic Testing and Cancer


Some cancers seem to run in families, with several family members getting the disease, often across generations. Meanwhile, other families remain untouched by cancer. Sorting out the facts can get confusing. The following questions and answers provide information regarding genetic testing and cancer and where to find more information:

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What is genetic testing?

Genetic tests look for changes in a person's genes that may increase cancer risk.


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What is a gene test?

Gene tests look at a person's blood, body fluids or tissues for changes in a person’s DNA. The tests can look for large changes, such as a gene that has a section missing or added. It can also look for small changes within the DNA strand, such as a missing, added, or altered chemical base. Other important changes can be genes with too many copies, genes that are too active, genes that are turned off or those that are lost entirely.


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Should I buy a genetic test from the Internet?

Several genetic tests are being sold over the Internet. Before buying one, talk to your healthcare provider or a genetic counselor first.


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Who may need genetic testing?

People with one or more of the following:




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What does a genetic counselor do?

A genetic counselor is part of a health team that offers genetic counseling services to people who want information on their risk of getting a genetic condition, including cancer.

Genetic counseling helps people understand how genetics can:


Genetic counseling can help people make choices. Genetic counselors look at your family and medical histories to see if you are eligible for genetic testing. They help you know what to do if you are diagnosed with cancer, how to prevent cancer, what research and resources are available, and what genetic you would need.


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How do I know if a genetic counselor is certified?

A person with the letters CGC after their name is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) as a genetic counselor. All ABGC genetic counselors have at least a master’s degree.


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How can I find certified a genetic counselor?

To find a genetic counselor in your area, ask your doctor or visit these websites:




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How can I find a directory of genetic testing laboratories and clinics?

To find a directory of international genetic testing laboratories and clinics, visit this website:




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Will my insurance pay for genetic counseling and testing?

The price of testing varies and, in some cases, may not be covered by health insurance. Ask your doctor or other health professionals for more information on genetic testing, privacy issues, and insurance coverage.


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Is there a law that protects my privacy?

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination (GINA) Act was signed into law on May 21, 2008. It is a federal law that does not let health insurers and employers discriminate based on genetic information. The part of the law that affects health insurance will take effect in May 2009. The part that affects employment takes effect six months later in November 2009.

Quick Guide to GINA Act:




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Is there information on genetic discrimination?

Yes. Visit the following links for information regarding genetic discrimination:




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Is there information on genetics and specific cancers?

Yes. Check out the following sections of this document for links to information on:



Breast Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Genetics of Breast & Ovarian Cancer (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/breast-and-ovarian/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the genetics of breast and ovarian cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. The following information is included in this summary:

  • Family history and other risk factors for breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Models for predicting breast cancer risk.
  • Major genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer risk.
  • Screening and risk modification for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Psychosocial issues associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and genetic testing.


Genetic Testing for Breast & Ovarian Cancer Risk: It’s Your Choice

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/Genetic-Testing-for-Breast-and-Ovarian-Cancer-Risk

This booklet will give you an overview of testing for breast and ovarian cancer risk. This information may also apply to risk of other cancers. It describes the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of testing. It also gives basic medical terms to help as you talk with your doctor or other health care professionals trained in genetics.



Genetic Testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2: It's Your Choice

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA
Provides a definition of BRCA1 and BRCA2, addresses the risks associated with both genes, talks about the populations most affected by these two genes, the meaning of test results, and what factors increase one’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.



BRCA Risk Calculator and Mutation Prevalence Tables

http://www.myriadtests.com/provider/brca-mutation-prevalence.htm

This BRCA risk calculator on Myriad’s Web site is geared toward health professionals. It is a way for them to calculate one’s BRCA risk. Note: This information was last updated in 2006.

Fanconi Anemia Gene Linked to Breast Cancer Risk

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/genetics/breast/BRIP1

Discusses how a gene that is mutated in some patients with the blood disease Fanconi may also be a risk factor for breast cancer.

CHEK2 Gene Carries Risk of Breast Cancer

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/genetics/breast/CHEK2gene

This information discusses a 2002 study that showed that a mutation the gene, CHEK2, increased the risk for breast cancer in families with a strong history of the disease.

NHGRI Researchers Develop Gene Test That Differentiates Breast Cancer Types (News Release)

http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/feb2001/nhgri-21.htm

2001 news release on how the scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed gene expression profiling, a new genetic test, that, for the first time, can easily distinguish between hereditary and sporadic (non-hereditary) forms of breast cancer.

Scientists Pinpoint Location of Possible Third Gene Involved in Hereditary Breast Cancer to Chromosome 13

http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/aug2000/nhgri-14.htm

2000 News release on scientists pinpointing the location of a possible third gene involved in hereditary breast cancer to chromosome 13.

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.

Breast Imaging Study

http://breastimaging.cancer.gov/

This site has information on the Breast Imaging Study, which is directed towards women who are at high genetic risk of cancer because they have a mutation in one of the BReast Cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2, are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. The Study will evaluate the use of several new, promising breast cancer screening techniques in women at high genetic risk of breast cancer. These techniques include: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Breast Duct Lavage (BDL) and/or Nipple Aspiration.

Cancer Family Registries

http://epi.grants.cancer.gov/CFR/

This site is directed towards both the general public and potential research collaborators. It has information on both breast and colon cancer family registries.


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Cervical Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included in this summary:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.


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Colon and Rectal Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Genetics of Colorectal Cancer (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/colorectal/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the genetics of colorectal cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. The following information is included in this summary:
  • Family history and other risk factors for colorectal cancer.
  • Primary prevention of familial colorectal cancer.
  • Major genes and genetic polymorphisms associated with colorectal cancer risk.
  • Genetic testing, screening, and risk modification for hereditary colorectal cancer.
  • Psychosocial issues associated with hereditary colorectal cancer and genetic testing.

Cancer Family Registries

http://epi.grants.cancer.gov/CFR/

This site is directed towards both the general public and potential research collaborators. It has information on both breast and colon cancer family registries.

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included in this summary:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.


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Endometrial Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included in this summary:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.


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Esophageal Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included in this summary:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.


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Head and Neck Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included in this summary:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.


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Lung Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Location of Potential Familial Lung Cancer Gene Found

http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/pressreleases/lungcancerlocus

This site has information on the interdisciplinary consortium that consisted of 12 research institutions and universities, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which identified a major lung cancer susceptibility region on a segment of chromosome 6.

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included in this summary:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.


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Ovarian Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Genetics of Breast & Ovarian Cancer (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/breast-and-ovarian/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the genetics of breast and ovarian cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. The following information is included in this summary:

  • Family history and other risk factors for breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Models for predicting breast cancer risk.
  • Major genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer risk.
  • Screening and risk modification for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Psychosocial issues associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and genetic testing.


Genetic Testing for Breast & Ovarian Cancer Risk: It’s Your Choice

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/Genetic-Testing-for-Breast-and-Ovarian-Cancer-Risk

This booklet will give you an overview of testing for breast and ovarian cancer risk. This information may also apply to risk of other cancers. It describes the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of testing. It also gives basic medical terms to help as you talk with your doctor or other health care professionals trained in genetics.



Genetic Testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2: It's Your Choice

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA

Provides a definition of BRCA1 and BRCA2, addresses the risks associated with both genes, talks about the populations most affected by these two genes, the meaning of test results, and what factors increase one’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.



BRCA Risk Calculator and Mutation Prevalence Tables

http://www.myriadtests.com/provider/brca-mutation-prevalence.htm

This BRCA risk calculator on Myriad’s Web site is geared toward health professionals. It is a way for them to calculate one’s BRCA risk. Note: This information was last updated in 2006.



Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.



Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included:


  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.



Cancer Family Registries

http://epi.grants.cancer.gov/CFR/

This site is directed towards both the general public and potential research collaborators. It has information on both breast and colon cancer family registries.


Back to the Top

Prostate Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Genetics of Prostate Cancer (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/prostate/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the genetics of prostate cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. The following information is included in this summary:
  • Family history and other risk factors for prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer susceptibility loci and polymorphisms associated with prostate cancer risk.
  • Risk assessment for hereditary prostate cancer.
  • Screening and risk modification for hereditary prostate cancer.
  • Psychosocial issues associated with hereditary prostate cancer.

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included in this summary:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.


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Skin Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included in this summary:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.


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Stomach (Gastric) Cancer: Prevention, Genetics, Causes

Understanding Gene Testing

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/UnderstandingCancer/genetesting

This is a slideshow with text on genes, gene mutations and disease, the common methods found in gene tests, the Human Genome Project, and the decision-making process of getting genetic testing.

Cancer Genetics Overview (PDQ)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/genetics/overview/healthprofessional

This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides a framework for understanding the genetic basis of hereditary cancer. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Cancer Genetics Editorial Board. Information about the following is included in this summary:
  • The features of hereditary cancer.
  • The genetic counseling process.
  • An extensive list of genetics resources available online.

Search: Cancer Genetics Services Directory

http://www.cancer.gov/search/geneticsservices/

This directory lists professionals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others). These professionals have applied to be listed in this directory.


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Is there genetic information in Spanish?

Yes. The Human Genome Project has a listing of genetic information from various organizations in Spanish. It is called Genética Websites en Español. To view the list, visit http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/education/spanish.shtml


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Where can I find genetic societies?

The following are listings of genetic societies (Texas listings first):




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Where can I find more information about cancer and genetics?

You can find more information by visiting these websites (Texas listings first):




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Citations

American Board of Genetic Counseling
http://www.abgc.net/english/view.asp?x=1

The American Board of Medical Genetics
http://www.abmg.org

FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered
http://www.facingourrisk.org

Genetics Home Reference
http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov

National Cancer Institute
http://www.cancer.gov

National Human Genome Research Institute
http://www.genome.gov

National Society of Genetic Counselors
http://www.nsgc.org


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