Test Your Family

Knowing more about hereditary cancers is the first step towards prevention.

Click below to take a Genetic History test at myGeneHistory.

Family Tree

What are Hereditary Cancers?

  • Hereditary Cancer genes can be passed from either side of the family.
  • Men can pass a gene for breast or ovarian cancer to a daughter.
  • Women can pass a gene for prostate or colon cancer to a son.
  • You can personally test negative for a hereditary cancer gene, yet one of your siblings may still  carry a gene.
  • If you personally test negative for a hereditary cancer gene, then you have not passed a gene to  any of your children. However, your children may be at risk for caring a gene from their other parents side of the family.
  • Men who carry a BRCA 2 gene may be at risk for prostate and/or pancreatic cancer. 
  • Even if you test negative for a hereditary cancer gene, you may still be at risk and need increased surveillance, based on family history.
  • We now have the capability of annual screening for pancreatic cancer.
  • Lynch Syndrome can run in families and is the most common inherited form of colorectal cancer and can be detected by genetic testing 
  • Families with colorectal cancer and endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, small bowel cancer, ureter or renal pelvis cancer, bladder cancer, bile duct cancer, pancreatic cancer, or sebaceous adenomas of the skin, especially if diagnosed before age 50 should consider genetic testing for Lynch Syndrome. 
  • Genetic testing is recommended for you or your family members when a first or second degree relative has had pancreatic cancer or ovarian cancer 
  • If you or your family members have had over ten colon polyps you should consider genetic testing
  • Hereditary cancers often occur younger and often hereditary if diagnosed younger than fifty 
  • Multiple cancers in your family can be an indication of a hereditary genetic mutation 

This testing is now affordable and typically covered by insurance.

This can save you and your family members lives.  

Testing your family

After an individual has been identified as having a genetic mutation that could increase the risk for hereditary cancer it is important for family members to also have cancer genetic testing. This is called Cascade Testing.

The term cascade testing is testing of individual family members after a family member has been identified as being at high risk or having a genetic mutation. This will continue to identify other family members that can also be at risk for hereditary cancer.

Cascade testing begins when a person is diagnosed with a hereditary cancer gene mutation. Through a careful family history, closest relatives are first identified for genetic testing. Testing, through analysis of a blood or saliva sample, can reveal if the individual carries a known predisposition genetic mutation.

Testing then proceeds with close relatives such as parents and children and then extends to extended family such as aunts, uncles and cousins in a stepwise, cascade fashion to determine if they do or do not carry an inherited cancer-risk mutation.

Cascade testing is an essential and efficient way to determine if other family members are also at risk for hereditary cancer. Once individuals are identified a personalized cancer prevention plan can be made to help prevent or early detect cancer.

If a family member has tested positive for a cancer genetic mutation and you are making an appointment for cancer genetic testing it is important to bring a copy of your family members test results or a letter stating the specific genetic mutation. This will help the clinician determine appropriate testing.

Cascade testing can save lives and improve overall quality of life, as it allows clinicians to form a plan based on whether or not someone is known to carry risk for inherited cancer.

Cascade Testing