Who Should Consider Genetic Testing?

Who should participate in hereditary cancer risk assessment or genetic testing?

Approximately 5-10% of cancers are inherited. Changes in a particular gene can be passed down from a parent and are associated with a higher lifetime risk of cancer. Features suggestive of hereditary cancer include:

  • An individual diagnosed with cancer prior to age 50
  • An individual who has developed more than one cancer
  • An individual with a rare type of cancer (triple negative breast cancer, ovarian, male breast cancer, aggressive prostate, pancreatic)
  • An individual with two or more family members diagnosed with the same cancer
  • A family member with an identifiable gene mutation known to increase the risk of cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with a personal or family history of cancer
  • Families with a constellation of breast and ovarian cancers or colon and uterine cancers
  • More than 10 colon polyps
  • Rare tumors such as medullary thyroid cancer, paragangliomas, or pheochromocytomas
  • Abnormal tumor testing (MSI, MMR deficient, genetic variants in tumor)

If you or your family have these features, it is important to review this information with your health care provider.