Advantages and disadvantages of a genetic test

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Advantages and disadvantages of a genetic test

The possible advantages

  • If you are found to have a gene fault there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer. You may be able to make certain lifestyle changes or have regular screening to detect cancer early. Or you may be able to take medicines that lower the risk of developing cancer or have risk reducing surgery
  • Knowing that you have a particular cancer gene can help to reduce the stress and anxiety caused by not knowing

The possible disadvantages

  • Some genetic test results identify a variation in a gene but it may not be clear whether it increases your cancer risk
  • If the test finds a faulty gene you may have constant worry about developing cancer.
  • If the test is positive you may also need to tell other relatives that they may have inherited the gene.

Possible problems with insurance

In the future you may find it harder to get health and life insurance after having a genetic test. Currently the Association of British Insurers(ABI) and the Government have agreed to a temporary ban on asking people for the results of genetic tests for cancer. This agreement is called a Concordat and Moratorium. The Moratorium lasts until 2019 and will then be reviewed.

Insurance companies can still ask about family history and may charge more for families with a strong family history of cancer. If you have had a genetic test and it shows that you don’t have a gene, you may choose to tell the insurance company.

If you have had any problems with an insurance company that you can't sort out, you can make a complaint to the

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BRCATESTUK uses the Color test within our service

Color Genomics test is part of BRCATESTUK's hereditary cancer testing service