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Cancer Genetic Testing, The Latest Technology Available Today

By Author: Brown Harris
Total Articles: 31

How advanced is cancer genetic testing?

In terms of history, cancer genetic testing has come a long way. In the early 1900s, scientists had finally discovered that protein abnormalities or mutations on chromosomes were linked to numerous genetic issues. In the 1950s, it was proposed that understanding these abnormalities or mutations could help scientists screen patients and even newborns for having the potential of a cancerous genetic condition. Since the early 2000s, scientists and private organizations have developed gene screening methods that cover 2,000 health conditions linked with the genetic code. The main diagnostic tool for geneticists is the simple diagnostic exam on a person's genetic code. Using decades of research, scientists take a sample of genetic code and look through to see where the genes are altered. Knowing which genes are altered tells the geneticist that there is a chance the patient has a genetic condition like cancer or cystic fibrosis etc.

Cancer genetic testing- Does someone who inherits a cancer-predisposing mutation always get cancer?

No. Even if a cancer-predisposing mutation is present in a family, it does not necessarily mean that everyone who inherits the mutation will develop cancer. Several factors influence the outcome in a given person with the mutation. One factor is the pattern of inheritance of the cancer syndrome. To understand how hereditary cancer syndromes may be inherited, it is helpful to keep in mind that every person has two copies of most genes, with one copy inherited from each parent. Most mutations involved in hereditary cancer syndromes are inherited in one of two main patterns: autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive. One must go in for a Cancer genetic testing to avoid risks.

What are the tests available for cancer genetic testing?

More than 50 hereditary cancer syndromes have been described. The majority of these are caused by highly penetrant mutations that are inherited in a dominant fashion. The few mentioned below include some of the more common inherited cancer syndromes for which genetic testing is available, the genes that are mutated in each syndrome, and the cancer types most often associated with these syndromes. 

* Hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer syndrome

Genes: BRCA1, BRCA2, Related cancer types: Female breast, ovarian, and other cancers, including prostate, pancreatic, and male breast cancer

* Li-Fraumeni syndrome

Gene: TP53, Related cancer types: Breast cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), leukemia, brain tumors, adrenocortical carcinoma (cancer of the adrenal glands), and other cancers.

A lot of cancer genetic testing is available for all sorts of cancers, in case one feels the risk they should definitely go in for one.

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