Each of us has millions of cells in our bodies. Inside each of those cells is our DNA, which is organized into genes. Our genes provide instructions for proteins to be formed and carry out different functions in our bodies such as to grow and regenerate cells for the different body parts and their functions. The DNA in our genes is made up of a code of four chemical bases and each gene has a specific order of these letters.
When there is a genetic mutation, the instructions in the genes is altered. This can prevent a gene from working properly either causing certain diseases or causing the abnormal and rapid growth of certain cells (e.g. in the case on cancerous tumors). In the case of cancer genes, if a genetic mutation is present, that person may have a higher chance of developing certain types of cancer throughout their life.
In general, about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are hereditary. In families with hereditary cancer, a genetic mutation has been identified in family members that contributed to the development of certain cancers in the family.
The likelihood of a cancer being hereditary can vary by type of cancer. For example, about 15 to 20 percent of ovarian cancer is hereditary. Other cancer types, such as lung and skin cancers, have a lower likelihood of being hereditary and are more likely affected by environmental factors. So, this means even though some cancers are common in the family they may be a effect of shared environments among family members and not a genetic mutation.
A hereditary disease is often described as something that “runs in the family.” It is passed down from one or both parents to a child, who may then pass it to their children. Because hereditary diseases are caused by genetic mutations, you sometimes see the words “hereditary” and “genetic” used interchangeably when referring to inherited disease.
However, not all genetic mutations cause diseases and not all genetic mutations are hereditary.
Your Genetic expert or Genetic Counselor at Genexsure can help you understand your risk of inherited disease or the risk of any known disease causing Genetic mutations being passed down to your family.
You may want to consider genetic testing in many scenarios. If you have a family history of disease and are worried about having inherited the diseases, you can take steps to be sure of your genetic health. You should consult with a genetic counselor or genetic expert to help you make the assessment of whether Genetic testing is right for you.
The Family History and Genetic Risk assessment service at Genexsure is the fastest and cheapest way to determine if Generic testing is appropriate for you.
In general, about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are hereditary. However, this percentage can vary for certain types of cancers. For example - 15-20% of Breast and Ovarian cancer is hereditary. As not all cancers or inherited diseases are caused by genes or genetic mutations, You should consult with a genetic counselor or genetic expert to help you make the assessment of whether Genetic testing is right for you.
In general, some indications that may suggest a possible hereditary risk of cancer in an individual or family include:
Genetic conditions can be passed through a family in several ways. We have two copies of every gene because we inherit one copy from our mother and one copy from our father. In turn, one copy of each gene is passed on to a child. If one of the copies of the gene that is passed on to the child has a mutation, it increases the child’s risk for getting the inherited family condition. In some cases there may be mutations that have only superficial or no effects on the child but in other cases the mutations are more clearly understood and are of great risk. E.g. A well known mutation called BRCA1 and BRCA2 is known to significantly increase the risk of inherited cancers such as Breast or Ovarian cancer.
Genetic counselors are trained, licensed professionals with training in science of Genetics and in the fields of Pscychology and Counseling. Genetic Counselors help you make decisions about your genetic health. Genetic counseling can help you understand how genes affect you and your family’s health and how to manage or treat diseases based on genetic test results.
The number of diseases that are passed on through your genes is on the rise. However, family history of a disease does not always mean risk is high for everyone in the family. If you are concerned about your personal or family history, genetic testing may help you understand your individual risk factors and how others in your family may be affected.
As a first step, you will be required to complete a thorough family history using our online questionnaire.
Next a genetic counselor will conduct a format assessment of your family history and assess your risk for any inherited diseases passed through your family genes. Your Family History and Genetic Risk evaluation report will also provide education about reducing your disease risk factors and information about hereditary syndromes and genetic testing. Genetic testing may be recommended for you based on the assessment by the Genetic counselor.
Your Genetic Counselor conducts an assessment of your risk of inherited diseases caused by genetic mutation. If the genetic counselor recommends Genetic Testing, here are the steps to expect.
Step 1: As part of the recommendation for Genetic Testing, the Genetic Counselor will provide education and counseling around what to expect from a genetic test and what the results may mean to you and your family.
Step 2: For the Genetic test, a DNA sample is obtained through a saliva swab and sent to a specialized lab. The testing looks for changes, called mutations or variants, in your DNA..
Step 3: Once the results of the Genetic test are received from the lab, the genetic counselor will review the results with you in detail. Your Genetic Counselor will also help you understand what the results mean for you and your family, and if required how to talk to your family about your test results. Based on your results, your genetics expert may also provide guidance and referrals for everything from lifestyle changes to appropriate medical providers.
This assessment is made by a Genetics Expert based on you and your family medical history. In some cases, a panel test is ordered looking for specific genetic mutations known to cause certain specific types of cancers. In other cases, a broader multipanel test is ordered that looks at a variety of genes. In this type of multi-panel test we can assess multiple genes associated with a particular type of disease.
A genetic expert is trained to identify and order the appropriate test from over 700,000 genetic tests available from various labs across the country.
At Genexsure we are focused on making access to genetic testing easy for the patient. All of our services are offered at a flat rate of $79 before taxes.
In case a genetic test is required and ordered for you by your genetic counselor there will be additional lab charges for that test. These lab charges are typically about $250-$400 and in some cases much more. Your genetic counselor can advise you on the best test and the lab charges associated with each test.
Yes, most commercial insurance companies like CIGNA, United Health, Kaiser Permanente and others cover the cost of Genetic testing.
Our Genetic Expert fees of $79 are not covered by insurance but are FSA/HSA eligible.
Medicare typically does not cover the cost of Genetic testing. Your genetic counselor can help you obtain pre-authorization from your insurance company before ordering a Genetic test for you.