Know Your Cancer Risk
About five to 10 percent of all cancer is due to inherited genetic mutations that can predispose you to certain types of tumors, such as colon, breast or ovarian cancer. Considering your cancer risk can be stressful, but knowing your personal health profile can empower you to stay healthy throughout your lifetime.
At the Genetic Risk Assessment Program at the Cancer Center at Tufts Medical Center, our experienced physicians and genetic counselors provide comprehensive testing and counseling to help you understand your cancer risk and preventative options.
Genetic testing is complex, and the results can be hard to understand. Our goal is to give you the information you need to make informed decisions about what's best for you and your family.
Should I Get Tested?
Our experts recommend genetic risk assessment for patients who have had:
- Cancer before 50 years of age
- Two different types of cancer or two episodes of the same cancer
- Multiple family members with the same type of cancer
- Cancer in certain combinations within their family
Prior to testing, your genetics professional will sit down with you to review your personal medical history and your family's medical history going back several generations. Then you'll decide together if genetic testing is right for you.
What If I Have an Inherited Predisposition?
There are many options for patients who learn that they have an increased cancer risk due to their genetics. Our team works closely with Tufts MC doctors in areas such as the Cancer Center, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Radiology and Gastroenterology so that we can present you with a range of personalized, state-of-the-art options for managing your cancer risk.
Risk-reduction options may include:
- Screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms at an increased frequency
- Surgical interventions
- Preventative medications (chemoprevention)
After testing, your doctor and genetic counselor work with you to develop a preventative care plan that's personalized to your health history and risk profile.
Does Insurance Cover Predictive Testing?
At Tufts MC, we're committed to keeping health care affordable so you can live the healthy life you deserve.
Insurance coverage for genetic testing varies. We can work with you and your health insurance provider to determine what's covered under your plan.
Several tests are available to predict cancer risk, and your insurance plan may offer different levels of coverage for each one. Your doctor will select the tests that are right for you based on your health and family history. We won't recommend testing unless we believe it's your best option for remaining cancer-free.
A Specialized Program for Hereditary GI Cancers
The Center for Hereditary Gastrointestinal Cancers at Tufts MC is home to expert clinicians who are up-to-date on the most advanced genetic testing options and are trained to help patients understand cancer risk.
Our clinical team is led by a gastroenterology physician and genetic counselor with specific expertise in GI cancer genetics. Other members of the clinical service include gastrointestinal pathologists, colorectal surgeons, medical oncologists and surgical oncologists. Our patients will have access to all of the resources here at Tufts Medical Center, including opportunities to participate in research studies and clinical trials.
Learn more about this program >
Primary care physicians play an important role in the prevention and early diagnosis of cancer — especially for patients with a genetic cancer predisposition syndrome. We value our relationship with PCPs, and we're committed to communicating with you throughout the genetic testing process.