Treatments & Services
What is Genetic Testing?
Genetic testing is usually done through a routine blood draw or saliva sample. Testing is ordered to help identify a suspected genetic condition that could put you at a higher risk of developing cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and others. The results of the tests are used by genetic counselors to help make recommendations that can help you prevent or watch for the development of these cancers. The results can also help your relatives determine if they should consider genetic testing.
Although no one can predict whether a patient will actually develop cancer, genetic testing is available through Virginia Oncology Associates to identify those at an increased risk due to inherited gene mutations (changes).
Who Should Get Tested?
Genetic testing can be beneficial in understanding your risk of inheriting cancer; however, not everyone is an ideal candidate. Approximately 5-10% of cancers are caused by an inherited cancer syndrome. Features of your personal or family medical history that may suggest a hereditary cancer syndrome include:
- Known gene mutation in the family
- Cancer that was diagnosed at an unusually young age (under age 50)
- Cancer that has developed in both organs in a set of paired organs, such as both kidneys or both breasts
- Unusual cases of a specific cancer type like breast cancer in a man or several different types of cancer that have occurred independently in the same person
- Multiple relatives (3 or more) with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and/or aggressive prostate cancer
- Ovarian cancer at any age
- More than 20 polyps in the colon
- Ethnic predisposition, specifically Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
If you or a family member on either side of your family has had any of the above mentioned, please take our online questionnaire and consult with your VOA healthcare team.
Health insurance plans will often cover the costs of genetic testing when it is recommended by your healthcare provider. However, because policies differ among insurance providers, it is wise to contact your insurance company beforehand to confirm genetic testing coverage.