My Test Results Are Back. What's Next?

If Your Results are Positive

If you have a positive test result in one of the genes listed below, we have created easy-to-read informational resources, found below. These are created on an ongoing basis and tailored to a specific gene, inherited condition, and/or test result type. All of these resources are meant to add to discussions with a healthcare provider.

English

Spanish

What This Means For Your Family

There is a 50/50 random chance to pass on a gene mutation in a hereditary cancer gene to your sons and daughters, if you have them. The image below shows that both men and women can carry and pass on these mutations. Most inherited cancer syndromes occur when a gene mutation is inherited from one parent.

This is a pedigree showing inherited gene mutations that affects a family

If Your Results are Negative

If you have a personal and/or family history of cancer, but the results of your genetic testing were negative, there are several possible reasons for this:

  • The cancer(s) you/your family members had just happened by chance
  • The cancer(s) you/your family members had are due to shared lifestyle/environmental factors
  • You/your family members have a mutation in a gene not included in the test you had
  • You/your family members have a mutation, but at this point in time technology is unable to find it

Your healthcare provider can discuss with you whether any additional genetic testing is right for you, and will typically consider your personal history and your family history, and decide if increased cancer screening would help you and your family members. In this situation, genetic testing is not usually recommended for family members who do not have cancer, but other family members who have had a diagnosis of cancer may benefit from testing. It is possible that they have a mutation that you did not inherit.

If you had genetic testing for a specific mutation found in a family member, your cancer risk is most likely the same as the average person’s risk. Because the genetic cause of cancer in your family is known, you can most likely follow average screening guidelines for cancer, such as mammograms starting at age 40 and colonoscopies starting at age 50. Your cancer risk is not zero, so it is important to keep doing this basic screening. However, sometimes families many have multiple causes of cancer. Because of this, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine if any increased screening or additional genetic testing would be helpful.

We have created an easy-to-read informational resource for families receiving negative genetic test results, found below in English and Spanish. This is meant to add to discussions with a healthcare provider.

English

Hereditary Cancer Negative

Spanish

Hereditary Cancer Negative

If Your Result is a Variant of Unknown Significance (VUS)

We all have many unique changes in our DNA, but most of these changes do not cause cancer or other diseases. When the testing laboratory looks at your DNA, sometimes it is not clear if the VUS in you increases your risk to develop cancer, or is just a harmless trait (like eye color) that makes you and your family unique.

Over time, the laboratory will collect more information and try to determine if this VUS causes cancer or not. Participating in family studies, where the lab will look at certain family members’ DNA (perhaps at no charge), may help the lab determine what the change means.

Unfortunately, your healthcare provider will not be able to use your VUS test result to estimate your cancer risks or your family's cancer risks at this time. However, they can recommend screening and management options based on the cancer history in your or your family

We have created an easy-to-read informational resource for families receiving VUS genetic test results, found below in English and Spanish. This is meant to add to discussions with a healthcare provider.

English

Variant of Unknown Significance

Spanish

Variant of Unknown Significance