To better understand the role that genetics has in the development of cancer, it’s helpful to step back and review the role of genes in your body.
Your genes, which are made up of DNA, control your hereditary characteristics, from your eye color to your height. Each person has between 20,000 and 25,000 genes and each gene has two copies — one from your mother and one from your father. Humans share most of the same genes, with only a mere 1% making up your individual characteristics.
Mutations in these genes, which are responsible for many health conditions, including cancer, can be passed down from a parent to a child. These mutations are found in every cell of your body and can accelerate the growth of cancer.
To determine whether you have a mutation that puts you at risk of developing cancer, Dr. McElya offers genetic cancer screening. While only 5-10% of cancers are thought to be directly related to inherited gene mutations, these numbers are large enough to make cancer screening worthwhile, if you have a history of cancer in your family.
You should consider genetic cancer screening if you have any of the following:
If you’re at all concerned about the possibility of an inherited risk of cancer, talk to Dr. McElya to find out whether genetic cancer screening can provide you with any answers.
Genetic screening is completely harmless and is done with your blood or saliva. Dr. McElya collects these samples and sends them to a specialized lab, Color Genomics, which performs the necessary tests. While you can send in your own samples, Dr. McElya offers a substantial discount on the pricing, and he also helps you interpret the results and recommends the next steps, if necessary.
To learn more about the value of genetic cancer screening, call Neighborhood Medical Center, or book an appointment online.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!