There are many reasons why you might consider DNA testing. It could be because your mom has cancer, and you want to determine if you have the genes. It could also be that you do not know your biological parents and want to learn more about your DNA. No matter the reason, consider these points before testing.

What is DNA Testing?

DNA testing is intended to look for changes in your DNA. These changes are often called variants or mutations. Variants in genes that are harmful may be responsible for an increased risk of cancer. These variants may contribute to 5 to 10% of all cancers. DNA testing is often referred to as genetic testing and is used in many areas of medicine. This can help change or guide your medical care. Genetic testing can be done by taking samples of blood or spit. You can usually have the results in several weeks. It is often helpful to consider having genetic counseling prior to this testing to ensure you should have it and to help you understand your results.

Why Consider DNA Testing?

There are a number of reasons why you may want genetic testing. First, it may be to determine if you have a condition that runs in your family. This can help you decide if your current or future pregnancy may have a condition. If you have symptoms of a genetic condition, this testing can determine if you have it. The results of this testing could also help determine what your cancer treatment or prevention plan should contain.

Types of DNA Testing

There is not one specific DNA testing that can detect all conditions, so the approach to testing is based on your individual needs. Single gene testing looks for changes in one specific gene. This test is ideal for someone that is looking for a particular condition. Panel testing looks for changes in many genes. This type of testing is ideal for a time when you have several symptoms. Finally, large-scale genetic or genomic testing is ordered when someone has a complex medical history.

When considering DNA testing, it is critical that you know exactly what you want to find. Therefore, it is best if you talk to your doctor first before deciding that you want to have genetic testing.