Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancers

Medical City Plano offers genetic testing for all inherited cancers. Like eye and skin color, increased cancer risk is a trait that can be passed down in families. About 5 to 10 percent of all cancer results from gene changes that can be inherited. The rest is due to a variety of factors interacting in a random fashion.

Answer the following questions to see if you might benefit from a visit with a certified counselor specializing in cancer genetics.

  1. Does cancer seem to run in your family?
  2. Were you or any of your relatives who had cancer diagnosed before the age of 50?
  3. Have you or any of your relatives received more than one cancer diagnosis?
  4. Are you of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry?
  5. Have you and/or any close relatives (parents, siblings, children, aunts/uncles, grandparents) had one or more of the following cancers:
    • Breast
    • Colon
    • Ovarian
    • Uterine
    • Pancreatic
    • Kidney
    • Melanoma
    • Prostate
    • Sarcoma
    • Gastric
    • Thyroid
    • Medullary thyroid


  • You have answered “yes” to more than one of the questions above OR
  • Any of your relatives have known cancer-related gene mutation OR
  • You are concerned about hereditary cancer risk…

Contact the Cancer Genetics Program at (214) 473-7402 to schedule an appointment for your personalized risk assessment.

What does the Clinical Cancer Genetics Program offer you?

Medical and Family History Review

The certified genetic counselor will gather information on the patient’s personal medical history and construct a cancer-focused family history that goes back three generations.

Assessment of Hereditary Risk

The certified genetic counselor will calculate the likelihood of a hereditary predisposition to cancer within the family and confer with the patient about this assessment. When medically indicated, this will include a discussion of the appropriateness of genetic testing.

Genetic Testing

A genetic test involves analyzing saliva or blood to detect genetic mutations that may contribute to an increased risk for some cancers. Patients who appear to be good candidates based on patterns of cancer in their families will be given information about the available test or tests.

Individualized Recommendations

Based on the family history and/or genetic test results, the certified genetic counselor briefs the patient on possible approaches to reducing his or her risk of cancer. This may include a review of screening strategies, chemoprevention or prophylactic surgery. As needed, patients are referred to high-risk screening clinics for further discussion and long-term follow-up.

Participation in Clinical Research

Patients are often invited to participate in clinical research trials and registries in collaboration with referring physicians.

Insurance Coverage and Confidentiality

  • Many insurance companies offer coverage for genetic counseling and genetic testing services.
  • The cost of genetic counseling depends on the complexity of the consultation and the number of appointments needed to complete it.
  • Genetic testing is elective and costs vary with the gene being analyzed and the laboratory used. These costs are separate from genetic counseling fees. Insurance preauthorization can be obtained for many genetic tests.
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act prohibits the use of genetic information in hiring decisions or to determine health insurance eligibility or coverage.

The Future of Cancer Genetics

Each year, the discovery of new genes is leading to the identification of new hereditary cancer syndromes and to the explanation of syndromes long recognized but poorly understood. In many cases, the ability to explain disease through genetic testing, and to identify high-risk individuals before cancer occurs, is prompting significant changes in patient management. This often results in improved outcomes for both the patient and his or her family.

Clinical Cancer Genetics

Genetic counseling provides hereditary cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling and testing, individualized cancer screening, and prevention recommendations to persons concerned about their individual and family history of cancer.

For more information, or to make an appointment, please call (214) 473-7402.