Approximately 5-10% of cancers are due to inherited, pathogenic mutations.
Hereditary cancer syndromes are inherited disorders which increase an individual’s risk of developing one or several types of cancer. Genetic testing for inherited cancer involves sequencing specific genes to determine if any pathogenic, or disease-causing, genetic variations are present. As part of a complete risk assessment, results from this kind of genetic test can help further define an individual’s inherited genetic risk towards several types of hereditary cancer syndromes.
A hereditary cancer risk assessment should be performed before ordering this kind of test.
Genetic testing is a powerful tool for detecting pathogenic variants associated with an increased risk for developing a hereditary cancer. However, this testing is not the best option for everyone, and has limited utility for those without a family history indicative of hereditary or familial cancer. To identify patients that will benefit the most from this test, a personal and family history of cancer must be performed prior to testing.