Genetic testing uses medical tests to search for mutations in the patient’s gene that may put them at risk of a certain disease. There are many ways these tests can be used, but we focus on genetic testing for cancer.
The people who recognize their situation in one of the points below could benefit from genetic testing for cancer.
- Presence of Family History: If cancer has left a mark in your family history, you should undergo genetic testing and check if you carry a mutation that increases your risk of getting a disease. If the mutation has been inherited, the best next step is to test for cancer early.
Tests performed in time can help cancer prevention significantly. With proper care, you can take steps to lower your disease risk.
- Those Already Diagnosed: Patients who have already been diagnosed with cancer can benefit greatly from genetic testing for cancer. These tests will allow the patient to know if they are at a higher risk for other types of cancer and give more information to their family.
With genetic testing, they’ll know if they need to be tested for gene mutations as well.
- Family of Those Who Carry the Gene: If your family member is carrying gene mutations, your safest option is to test yourself too. That way, you’ll know what steps you need to make in the future and if you should look for cancer early.
There are multiple types of cancer you can test for and see if you carry the mutation. Those include:
- Ovarian cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Kidney cancer
Genetic testing may also help with:
- Predicting a patient’s risk of a disease
- Advising on how you can increase your health
- Finding out if you’ll pass dangerous genes to your child
Based on the latest research and international consensus guidelines, the top recommendations for cancer prevention include:
- Fitness and weight – maintain a healthy weight without being underweight
- Sitting is the new smoking – avoid a sedentary lifestyle and maintain physical activity for 30 minutes a day
- Avoid soda – Limit drinking sugary beverages and limit eating energy-dense foods
- Plant-based diet – Enjoy a well-balanced healthy diet, with a variety of whole grains, legumes (such as beans), fruits and vegetables
- Red meat – Avoid processed meats and limit the consumption of red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb
- Alcohol – Alcoholic drinks should be limited to two drinks for men a day and one a day for women
- Salt and Sodium – Limit the consumption of salty foods and foods processed with sodium
- Supplements – do not use supplements to protect against cancer and avoid trend diets
- Breastfeeding – mothers should breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months and then add other liquids and foods
- Cancer survivors – cancer patients should enroll in a survivorship program to prevent cancer recurrence and the development of new cancers
- Preventative care – stay up to date with your primary care provider for overall health, including a risk assessment for cancer, and regular screenings for cancer when indicated
- Smoking – if you are a smoker or exposed to tobacco products regularly, enroll in a program to quit smoking
- Sun exposure – limit sun exposure and wear UV protection for skin surfaces and eyes