What are genes?
Genes are pieces of DNA present in the cells that tell the body what proteins are to be made so that the body can function well. DNA is a material that carries our genetic code made up of 4 chemicals. These DNAs are passed down from our mother and father. The genes structure our body and define various characteristics such as hair and eye color, how tall we are, and the color of our skin by producing specific proteins as defined in the code. Occasionally certain defective genes may be passed onto us that make us more prone to develop cancer by making or not making certain proteins that may play a role in cell division and growth. These defects are called mutations and can be identified by genetic testing.
What is genetic testing?
Genetic testing is a process in which certain specific genes are identified and screened for known mutations linked to increased chances of developing cancer.
How will genetic testing help me?
Genetic testing will help you identify if you have got any defective genes from your parents to increase your chance of developing cancer.
Do I need genetic testing?
Not everyone needs to undergo genetic testing. However, we recommend genetic testing to individuals who have a strong family history of cancer, families where cancers occur at a young age, rare types of cancers, cancers in certain ethnic groups, or clusters of cancers within a family.
How is genetic testing done?
A doctor or genetic counselor usually recommends genetic testing after a detailed assessment of the need for these tests. There are different types of gene testing done. If only one gene is to be tested, then it is called single gene panel testing, and if multiple genes are to be tested, it is called multigene panel testing. Testing is usually done by using a blood sample or saliva. The sample is sent to a laboratory that specializes in genetic testing. The reports usually take about 3 to 4 weeks to come.
What cancers can be screened using genetic testing?
There are over 50 types of hereditary cancer syndromes that can run in families, covering a wide range of cancers. However, the commonest cancers that tend to run in families that can be identified through genetic testing are breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.
We have one of the best cancer hospital in Bangalore equipped with state-of-art laboratory services for genetic testing.
Will I get cancer if I am positive?
Not necessarily. Genetic tests identify if you have a genetic defect that can increase your chances of developing cancer. Not all people with these defects develop cancers. One can go through life without developing cancers despite the genetic defects being present. These tests merely identify if one is at an increased risk of developing cancer compared to those who do not have these genetic defects.
Will I not get cancer if I am negative?
Not necessarily. There are many causes of cancer, and genetic defects are one of those causes. However, not having an indefinable genetic defect does not mean that one will not get cancer, as there may be many other causes that may increase one’s risk of developing cancer.
What are the benefits of genetic testing?
There are many benefits of doing a genetic test if appropriate. A positive result may help one understand the cancer risks involved and take appropriate steps to reduce the risk, either through lifestyle changes or medical interventions. It may also help one decide to undergo regular cancer screening to identify cancer at an earlier stage when cancer may still be curable. A negative test may reassure an individual that they are not at an increased risk of cancer than people without a gene defect. If one has already got cancer, then the presence of genetic defects may guide treatment options.
What are the drawbacks of genetic testing?
There may be significant psychological trauma one may undergo if a positive result stating an increased risk of cancer. There may also be social and professional discrimination if one declares an increased risk of developing cancer due to these genetic defects.
Cancer Therapy India provides the best genetic testing centre in Bangalore. We have a team of doctors who are experts in providing genetic testing for cancer treatment in Bangalore for various types of cancer.
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