Cancer-related genetic tests are most commonly done as predictive genetic tests. They may be used:

• To see if a person has a certain gene mutation known to increase the risk for a certain cancer (or cancers)
• To confirm a suspected gene mutation in a person or family



Genetic testing to learn about your cancer risk is done only if you decide to have it. If you are concerned about your family’s pattern of disease, cancer you’ve had in the past, or other cancer risk factors, you may want to talk to your doctor about whether to have genetic testing.

If you have any of the following, you might consider genetic testing for yourself:

• Several first-degree relatives (mother, father, sisters, brothers, children) with cancer, especially if they’ve had the same type of cancer
• Cancers in your family that are sometimes linked to a single gene mutation (for instance, breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer)
• Family members who had cancer at a younger age than normal for that type of cancer
• Close relatives with rare cancers that are linked to inherited cancer syndromes
• A physical finding that is linked to an inherited cancer (such as having many colon polyps)
• A known genetic mutation in one or more family members who have already had genetic testing

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