Genetic Testing Helps People Learn If They Have Genes That Will Develop Into Cancer

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 7:56am

MCALLEN - Many people have noticed that similar cancers run in their families. And some doctors believe this is because of inherited gene mutations; which means family members are passing along the genes that caused them to develop cancer onto their children.

Having noticed these trends, genetic doctors went to work at identifying certain gene mutations that, 50 to 80 percent of the time, gave a person cancer. This way, patients could have other family members tested for that gene to see if they were likely to develop that same cancer later in life.

News Center 23 Reporter Erin Murray spoke with one woman, who has a cancerous gene running in her family, and her doctor to learn more.

A patient should be tested for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutations if:

  • Breast cancer before age of 50
  • Ovarian cancer at any age
  • Bilateral breast cancer
  • Male breast cancer at any age
  • Individuals with both breast and ovarian cancer
  • Mutation positive relative

A patient should be tested for HNPCC - Lynch Syndrome if:

  • Colon of endometrial cancer before the age of 50
  • Multiple cancers in the same individual
  • HNPCC-related cancers in the family (ovarian, stomach, kidney/urinary tract, biliary, central nervous system, intestine)

For more information on gene testing and how it can help identify cancer genes before they mutate, visit

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