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Genetic Testing FAQs

For more information or to schedule a cancer genetics appointment, please select your region:

Northern Arizona/Sedona
Greater Phoenix
Southern Arizona/Tucson

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing is the process of using medical tests to look for changes (variants previously called mutations) in a person’s genes or chromosomes. Hundreds of different genetic tests are used today, and more are being developed. Genetic tests are most useful when conducted under the supervision of a genetic specialist who has an in-depth understanding of genetic risks and concepts and is able to provide genetic counseling about heritable disorders. Since there are so many genetic tests available, genetic counseling helps to determine which test may be useful to you and your family as well as the implications of different test results.

What are the benefits of genetic testing?

The obvious benefit of genetic counseling and testing is the chance for a better understanding of your risk for an inherited disease. At Arizona Oncology, we specifically counsel on the genetic risk of developing cancer.  Genetic results from May 20

If there is a pathogenic (disease-causing) variant/mutation that increases the risk of cancer identified in a family, a negative result from genetic testing may help or relieve anxiety or uncertainty. In the same way, a positive result can help you make important decisions about your future, perhaps including things you can do to help lower your risk of developing cancer.  

If you have already been diagnosed with cancer, genetic testing can help your healthcare providers figure out if there are any other cancers that you may be at risk for, so that screening can be increased. Sometimes carrying a genetic mutation may qualify a person for certain treatment options, such as PARP drugs for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer patients that carry a BRCA1/2 mutation.  

What are the limitations of genetic testing?

Is genetic counseling and genetic testing covered by insurance?

Will insurance cover any specialized screenings or surgeries needed?

Will insurance discriminate against me based on my genetic results?

If my genetic testing is negative, dose that mean I won’t get cancer?

If I have already had negative BRCA1/2 testing, do I need more genetic testing?

I heard about this test where you order online and spit into a tube…


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