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October 7, 2020

Many cancers are hereditary, meaning they can be passed from one generation to another through genes. The CAMC Cancer Center now offers a new screening and testing process to help patients determine if they are at an increased risk for developing certain types of inherited cancer.

The testing, provided by Ambry Genetics, is available to patients at the CAMC Cancer Center, Breast Center and Obstetrics and Gynecology Center.

Patients first answer a questionnaire about their family history that determines if they meet the guidelines for genetic testing established by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

If patients qualify for testing, the technology can examine 36 genes that are associated with eight types of hereditary cancer and look for changes in these genes that may indicate if the patient and his or her family are at an increased risk. While the test doesn’t diagnose cancer, it can be used to determine if further surveillance is needed for existing cancers, and may explain the patient’s current diagnosis and indicate risks for other cancers. It also may help physicians target specific treatments for which the patient qualifies based on the results.

If results of the genetic test are positive, a genetic counselor will discuss the results with the patient. Ambry handles prior authorization for all testing and notifies the patient of their cost. The cost will not exceed $249, and the patient will be notified if the cost exceeds $100. If results are positive for a genetic marker, the patient’s family is given the opportunity to be tested for free for the first 90 days.

About 10% of all cancers are hereditary and can be traced to an inherited mutation in one of the genes that play a role in protecting the body against cancer. These mutations cannot develop later in life. People who have these gene mutations are born with them and are at greater risk for cancer than the general population. The level of risk and the type of cancer depend on the gene mutation.

For more information, contact the CAMC Cancer Center at (304) 388-8380, the Breast Center at (304) 388-2861 or the CAMC Obstetrics and Gynecology Center at (304) 388-2427. You must be a patient at one of the clinics to receive the testing.

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