Our genetic code, the blueprint for the human body, is written into genes using the language of DNA. Mutations to specific genes can increase one’s risk of various malignancies. These mutations can be inherited or acquired over time from exposure to environmental carcinogens. One should consider genetic testing of possible mutations if there is a family history of malignancy especially rare malignancies in multiple family members.
Before proceeding with testing, though, one must understand that testing has its limitations: (1) testing does not give precise answers and (2) methods of testing are not uniform between all labs. Nevertheless, testing can help you make decisions about your health. A negative test may relieve some anxiety while a positive may direct and require future work-up including testing, procedures, chemotherapy and/or surgery.
If testing is performed and suggests increased risk you will then be directed to a genetic counselor to learn about your condition, determine the limitations of the test, clarify results and detail future treatment and surveillance options. A positive test does not necessarily tell you what will happen it can only provide information on what might happen. Conversely, a negative test does not mean you have no risk of developing that cancer.
Dr. Mantas is committed to providing the most advanced, cutting edge, non-invasive techniques at diagnosing common gastrointestinal disorders like Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease and Colon Cancer. If you are concerned about the genetic influence of certain gastrointestinal conditions or are at increased risk for a gastrointestinal malignancy based on family history please visit Dr. Mantas to determine the optimal diagnostic test for you.
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[Some patients are concerned about the privacy of their genetic information. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) bars discrimination based on genetic information by most employers and health insurers. Please refer to GINA to learn about your genetic rights. Importantly, GINA does not require health insurance to cover genetic testing. Some companies may cover testing but if not testing can be quite expensive.]