Genetic Testing

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Genetic Testing for Gynecologic Cancers

Genetic Testing Opens Door to Greater Awareness of Your Cancer Risk
As our understanding of the relationship between genetics and cancer continues to increase, UCLA Health has expanded efforts to identify patients who could benefit from genetic assessment specific for cancer risk, and to make testing and counseling services more broadly available. Beth Karlan, MD, vice chair of women's health research in the UCLA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of cancer population genetics at the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, explains that patients who might benefit from cancer genetic testing include cancer survivors, patients newly diagnosed with certain cancers, those with a family history of cancer, and those whose ancestry places them at higher risk for carrying mutations in genes related to cancer susceptibility.

Cancer genetic counseling comes into its own at UCLA. Knowledge is power for people with hereditary forms of cancer and their relatives. Find out more about cancer genetics testing and counseling at UCLA >

Why is genetic testing so important?

  • Close to 20% of ovarian cancers are caused by a hereditary predisposition
  • 5-10% of other cancer types are caused by risk you inherit
  • Identifying those that have inherited an increased risk for cancer can improve cancer prevention, early detection, and even effective treatment.
  • Genetic testing is not only informative for the patient but also empowers their relatives to be proactive and stay healthy.
  • Identifying individuals at increased risk allows us to detect cancer at an earlier stage when available treatments provide a better outcome. We may also be able to reduce the chance that a person would develop cancer altogether.

Who should be evaluated?

Individuals with:

  • Significant family history of cancer
  • Diagnosis or history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer or prostate cancer
  • Ovarian cancer in your family history
  • Uterine cancer before 50 years old
  • Uterine cancer and family history of colon cancer
  • Certain tumor characteristics suspicious for a possible inherited risk