Genetic counselling and testing starting at
Genetic testing for hereditary cancer
At Genolife, we offer you a genetic counselling and testing service that is personalized to your situation. You will meet with one of our certified genetic counsellors by telephone or videoconference to discuss your history and your genetic testing options. If you decide to have a genetic test done and you have a referral from your physician, we will coordinate the test and then meet with you again with the result to explain it in detail and discuss the implications for you and your family members. You and your doctor will receive a summary letter with a copy of your result. We are here to support you throughout this process.
Cancer is one of the most common diseases in Canada. Nearly 50% of Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, but only half will survive.
Learn more about cancer
In most cases, cancer occurs by chance. The risk increases as we age.
In 5-10% of cases, the genetic changes that cause cancer are hereditary. If your father, mother, brother, sister or any other family member has been affected by cancer at a younger age (e.g., under the age of 50), you may have inherited a genetic change in your DNA. If this is the case, you will be more likely to develop certain types of cancer in your lifetime.
Examples of cancers with a genetic predisposition:
Breast cancer (5-10%)
Ovarian cancer (15-20%)
Endometrial cancer (3-5%)
Colorectal cancer (5-10%)
Pancreatic cancer (10%)
Prostate cancer (5-12%)
All cancers are caused by genetic changes that affect the functioning of our cells. People who inherit these genetic changes have an increased risk of developing cancer in their lifetime and often earlier than the rest of the population. Fortunately, genetic testing is available to help you determine if you are at higher risk of a certain type of cancer based on your genetic background. Knowing this risk can change your medical follow-up, allow for targeted screening and risk reduction options.
Your personal and family history of cancer
The likelihood of developing a form of hereditary cancer in your lifetime
The genetic testing options available to you
The implications of genetic testing in your life
Preventive management with your doctor, if necessary
We work with several clinical laboratories that are accredited to perform medical genetic testing at the request of a physician. There are many genes associated with a hereditary predisposition to cancer and the most appropriate test will depend on an individual’s personal situation and their medical and family history.
Testing is available that targets specific genes (for example, BRCA1 and BRCA2) or many genes in a panel (for example, 10 genes associated with a particular type of cancer or 40 genes associated with many types of cancer).
A genetic test evaluates the sequence of the gene to find variants, like reading a book to find spelling mistakes. We all have genetic variants, not all of them are problematic. Certain variants, called pathogenic variants or mutations, have a large impact on the function of the gene. These variants can increase your risk of developing cancer in your lifetime.