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Colon Cancer Genetic Testing (cont.)

IN THIS ARTICLE

What Do the Results Mean?

Colon cancer genetic testing is a blood test that looks for the changed (mutated) genes that cause colon cancer. Although most people who get colon cancer do not have one of these mutated genes, having them greatly increases your chance of getting colon cancer.

A positive result means that you may have one of the changed genes that causes FAP or HNPCC. It also means that, without treatment, your chances of getting colon cancer are very high. If you have a positive result, you will be able to take action that may help you and your family members live longer.

A negative result means that none of these genes were found in your blood sample.

How Accurate Is the Test?

Although these blood tests are highly reliable, no test is 100% accurate. The test cannot tell you when or whether you will develop colon cancer. Testing negative for an inherited colon cancer gene does not mean you will never get colon cancer. It means your risk of colon cancer is about the same as that of the average person.

There are many different genetic mutations that can lead to FAP or HNPCC. Genetic testing does not find all of them. Because of this, a person may have a normal genetic test but still have an increased chance of having an inherited colon cancer.

Should I Be Tested?

The decision to be tested for genetic colon cancer is personal. You may have emotional, financial, and family reasons for taking or not taking the test.

You might choose to be tested because:

  • You have a family history of colon cancer. This means you have a parent, brother, or sister who has colon cancer, FAP, or HNPCC and they have tested positive for the abnormal gene.
  • You have a personal history of more than 20 colon polyps, especially at a young age.
  • You have received genetic counseling, understand the risks and benefits of testing, and feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. A genetic counselor can help you make well-informed decisions.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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