From an interview with
Crystal Hayes, Nurse Practitioner
McLeod Cancer Center
Genetic testing looks for specific inherited changes (variants) in a person’s genes, according to McLeod Nurse Practitioner Crystal Hayes. These changes can have harmful, beneficial, neutral (no effect), or unknown effects on the risk of developing diseases.
“At the McLeod Cancer Center, we offer hereditary genetic testing. Our primary goal is to identify individuals and families who have an increased risk of cancer in order to promote awareness and early detection.
Genetic counseling for those at risk includes:
Genetic testing involves getting a sample of blood or saliva that is sent to the genetic lab for analysis. The patient’s DNA is analyzed to determine whether they have any cancer-causing gene variants.”
There can be significant benefits to genetic testing, regardless of whether a person receives a positive or a negative result. A negative test can provide the person with peace of mind that a harmful gene variant was not inherited.
A positive test result provides the person an opportunity to understand and, in some cases, manage their cancer risks. It also allows their family members to learn about their own cancer risks.
For people who are already diagnosed with cancer, results of genetic testing may help them make decisions about their treatment and understand their risk for other cancers.
McLeod Health has a dedicated team of professionals available to address both the genetic and emotional aspects related to cancer risk or diagnosis of breast, ovarian, colon and other cancers. To learn more, please call (843) 777-7951 or (843) 366-3891.