Managing Your Risk of Hereditary Cancer Syndrome

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Parthen is here to provide guidance along this journey.

What is Hereditary cancer syndrome (HCS)?

It is a condition caused by genetic mutations.  If present, these mutations increase a person’s normal risk of developing certain types of cancer. If you have a family history of cancer, it’s important to understand your risk and take proactive steps to manage it. Genetic testing is one way to identify potential risks and take early action to prevent or detect cancer.

If you are a member of a family with HCS

Understanding Your Risk and the Benefits of Genetic Testing: Changes (mutations) in certain genes that regulate normal cell growth and division can lead to HCS. If these mutations are passed down from one generation to the next, it may increase the likelihood of developing certain cancer types. For example: BRCA1/2 mutations increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

Assessing your risk of hereditary cancer syndrome is an important step in managing your health. Factors that may increase your risk include:
  • A family history of cancer, especially at a young age
  • Multiple family members with the same type of cancer
  • Cancers in multiple generations of your family
  • The presence of certain genetic mutations in your family

If you have any of these risk factors, it may be advisable to seek genetic counseling and testing to better understand your risks.

Parthen can offer advice on how to approach this conversation with your primary care team.

Genetic Testing: Genetic testing analyzes your DNA to detect specific genetic mutations that may increase your risk of cancer. Some of the genetic tests include:

  • Diagnostic testing – To detect specific mutations in genes that cause hereditary cancer syndrome
  • Predictive testing – To detect mutations that may increase your risk of developing cancer in the future
  • Carrier testing – To detect mutations that can be passed down from parents to children

Preparing for Genetic Testing: Before accepting genetic testing, it’s important to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Additionally, it may require a referral form from your healthcare provider.

Interpreting the Results: Once you have the results from genetic testing, it’s important to understand what the results mean. A positive result may indicate an increased risk of developing cancer, while a negative result may provide reassurance. In some cases, the results may be inconclusive or require further testing.

If the genetic test result is positive, it’s important to take proactive steps to manage or even lower your risk of cancer. This may involve regular screenings, lifestyle modifications, and/or preventative measures such as surgery or medications. It’s also important to seek support and guidance from healthcare professionals, genetic counselors, and support groups.

Parthen is here to help you navigate this entire process in conjunction with your primary healthcare team.

Managing your risk of hereditary cancer syndrome is an important part of maintaining your health. By understanding your risk, seeking genetic testing, and taking proactive steps, you can reduce your risk of developing cancer.

Click on the Get Started button below for more information on genetic testing, genetic counseling services, and support groups.