Just the Facts: Female Cancers and Genetic Testing

March 8, 2012

Much has been said in the media about genetic testing for female cancer mutations. Such testing is offered to patients at the Floyd Memorial Cancer Center of Indiana, and the knowledge it provides can give patients difficult, but potentially life saving options. Here are the facts about genetic testing for female cancers:

  • A mutation of two specific genes is a strong predictor of cancer of the breast and ovary.
  • If a person is diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 50 or when two or more relatives on the same side of the family have the same type of cancer, genetic testing is suggested.
  • If no genetic abnormality is found, there is no need for family members to be tested.
  • If the mutation is found, testing may be offered to the patient’s close relatives.
  • It’s important to remember that not all cancers are caused by a genetic abnormality. In fact, only 20 percent of breast cancer patients have a family history of the disease, and of the 20 percent with a family history, only a very small number have the genetic mutation.

For more information about genetic testing at the Floyd Memorial Cancer Center of Indiana, call (812) 945-4000.