Genetic Testing

Identifying your risk factors

Genetic TestingGenetic testing can help identify genes with changes that may increase your risk for cancer and other conditions. Testing begins at our office, where we take a small sample of your blood and send it to the lab. Results arrive in about four weeks.

Which genes to test

It’s best to test a few specific genes relevant to your condition. The greater the variety of genes you test, the more likely you are to find genetic changes. These changes may not assure a specific type of cancer, but the results may affect your or your children’s insurance options. You and your genetic counselor will discuss which genes to test.

Test results

As part of our NCI gold-standard level of care, we meet with you in person to interpret your results, explain any changes we find in your genetic test and show you where the gene is located. You’ll learn what it means for you and your family members and who else in your family should be tested.

There are three possible results from genetic testing:

  • Positive: This indicates a change in a gene. We tell you the gene, the risk level and who else in your family should be tested. We discuss this with everyone affected to ensure informed consent.

  • Negative: This indicates no changes found. If you’ve had a diagnosis, you still need to follow your doctor’s advice.

  • Variant of uncertain significance (VUS): This indicates a change in a gene, but we don’t know whether it can result in cancer or another type of disease. Ongoing research may provide answers.

We help you use the NIH Genetics Home Reference website to find your particular gene and see if it is VUS or has been reclassified with known effects.

Reviewing results usually takes about 30 minutes. You’ll also receive a copy of the results to take home.