Should I Be Tested for Genetic Gynecologic Cancer?
Whether or not to have genetic testing for gynecologic cancer is a tough decision. It’s more than just a simple blood test. For one, it can be expensive, causing a financial burden for you and your family. Besides the time and money involved, there are a lot of ethical and emotional aspects to consider.
Testing might be as little as $100, or it could extend into the thousands. It depends on the type and extensiveness of testing. Insurance may or may not cover the tests, but if you use insurance the results can become part of your medical file which could have some future impact.
When to test?
You should consider testing if you have:
- a first degree relative with gynecologic or colon cancer
- multiple relatives with cancer diagnoses–especially breast and ovarian cancer
- relatives with more than one type of cancer, or
- family members who were diagnosed with cancer before age 50.
Finding out you don’t test positive for gynecologic genetic mutations can let you relax a bit. You don’t carry the mutations that could increase your risks for those cancers. But if family members test positive, you may then end up feeling guilty that you didn’t. Why them and not you?
But what if the opposite is true? Will knowing you have genetics that increase your risk for cancer make you feel like you are living under a dark cloud, waiting for the other foot to drop? Or will it empower you to take control of your health?
And then there’s your family? How will your spouse, children, parents, and siblings feel about the results? What do your results mean for their health? If you test positive, any of your blood relatives could carry the mutation as well. Can they handle knowing those results?
Finding out you have genetic mutations doesn’t mean you will definitely develop those cancers. What it does mean is that you and any affected family members have a greater risk than the general population for developing those cancers.
Knowing you are at risk can let you be proactive. You have an opportunity to possibly prevent those cancers from developing. You can:
- adopt a healthier lifestyle
- consider prophylactic surgery, and
- follow preventive care.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Read this article here: Should I Be Tested for Genetic Gynecologic Cancer?