Advancing the Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog – an eclectic collection of research- and research education-related stories: feature stories, mini news bites, learning opportunities, profiles and more from Mayo Clinic.

July 31, 2019

Identifying hereditary cancer risk: genetic testing can lead to better screening, earlier treatment

By Advancing the Science contributor

By Sharon Rosen

Do you have family members who have been diagnosed with gastrointestinal, breast or ovarian cancer? According to a recent Mayo Clinic study, nearly 5% to 10% of these cancers can be hereditary.

That’s why it is important to share your family medical history with your physician, who can determine if you and your family members may be candidates for genetic testing to identify cancer risk.

Niloy Jewel Samadder, M.D.

“Hereditary predisposition syndromes have been associated with a markedly increased lifetime risk of cancer, some approaching 100%," says Niloy Jewel Samadder, M.D., a gastroenterologist in the Department of Clinical Genomics at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus.

This makes genetic testing critical to early detection of cancer risks and decisions about screening and treatment.

"Genetic testing has become a key tool to help identify syndromes and conditions that predispose a person to gastrointestinal and breast-ovarian cancer," says Dr. Samadder, lead author of the study published in June in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "Identifying these patients through family history and genetic testing allows physicians and patients to talk about cancer risks, and make decisions about appropriate screening, surveillance and interventions."

Infrastructure support and early funding efforts for this study were provided by Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.

Learn more

Read the full story about the study.

In this video, Dr. Samadder explains how genetic testing helps guide the diagnosis and management of hereditary gastrointestinal cancers.

The latest advances in cancer

Hereditary cancer syndromes will be among the topics discussed at Individualizing Medicine 2019 Conference: Precision Cancer Care through Immunotherapy and Genomics on Sept. 20-21, in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

The conference brings together experts from Mayo Clinic and across the country to present and discuss case-based approaches to using genomics and new immunotherapies that oncologists and their teams can bring back to their own patients.

Other key conference themes include:

  • CAR-T cell therapy
  • Clonality
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Lineage Plasticity
  • National Cancer Institute

Preview the conference program.

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Tags: breast cancer, cancer, Center for Individualized Medicine, Findings, gastrointestinal cancer, genetic testing, hereditary cancer, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, News, Niloy "Jewel" Samadder, ovarian cancer

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