Genetics Testing Program to Detect Cancer Risks

Haywood has recently launched a Hereditary Risk Assessment program, currently offered to all mammography patients. The aim is to provide early detection and prevention of cancer not only for our mammography patients but any patient who may be at risk.  The program offers genetic counseling and testing for 28 genes that place a patient at increased risk for breast, ovarian, colon, uterine, gastric, pancreatic, melanoma, and prostate cancers.

A patient’s cancer family history can have a significant impact on cancer risk.  Once enrolled in the program, patients receive tailored screening and medical management plans based on their test results.  Patient will answer related questions and should they meet criteria, they speak with a genetics counselor.  If a patient proceeds with testing, a blood draw is completed at our lab and sent to the Myriad lab.  Results are reviewed by Dr. Allison Johnson.  If results suggest the patient is at a familial or genetic risk for cancer, the patient will review with Dr. Johnson what the next step may be.  The patient’s primary provider will receive documentation for all results.

Research has shown that up to 10 percent of cancers are due to factors that are passed from one generation to the next. These syndromes are known as hereditary cancers and there are genetic tests that can be used to determine an individual’s risk for developing these cancers. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be at risk for cancer –- such as a family history of cancer or membership in an at-risk ethnic population (such as people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry) –- you may want to talk to your healthcare professional about genetic testing.

There are many benefits to getting tested, regardless of the eventual result. If one of your family members — however distant — had cancer, there is a chance that you inherited a gene mutation that not only increases your personal risk of cancer, but also could be passed to the next generation. Those who are carriers of hereditary cancer gene mutations, could be at risk of getting cancer earlier in life than the general population. The sooner genetic testing is done, the more likely it is that the risk can be managed appropriately.

Remember: Your healthcare professional is your most valuable source of information and advice about hereditary cancer screening.


Genetics Testing

Haywood Breast Center
Outpatient Care Center - 2nd Floor
581 Leroy George Drive | Clyde, NC


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I already know I have a family history of cancer. Why should I get tested?

A. Testing for a hereditary cancer risk helps you and your healthcare professional understand your risk so you can make the best choices for preventive care. Knowing your family history is an important first step, but testing can give you a more accurate picture of your risk.

Q. I already have cancer. Why should I get tested?

A. Testing for a hereditary cancer helps you and your healthcare professional understand your risk for developing a second primary cancer. This information can allow you to make the best choices for preventive care.

Q. Is testing recommended for everyone?

A. While testing is the most accurate way to determine the risk of hereditary cancer, only people who have cancer in their family or a personal history of the disease need to be tested. If you have had cancer and/or cancer runs in your family, let your healthcare professional know. To help you assess whether you may benefit from hereditary cancer genetic testing, take the Myriad Hereditary Cancer Quiz. This simple, 30-second quiz can help you get the information you need to discuss your risk of cancer with your healthcare professional and ask for further evaluation.

Q. How do I get tested?

A. Ask your healthcare professional if testing is right for you. If so, your healthcare professional will draw a small amount of your blood or take a saliva sample and send it to Myriad Genetic Laboratories for analysis.

Q. How long does it take to get the test results?

A. Your healthcare professional will let you know your test results as soon as they are available, which may be as soon as two weeks from the date your test is performed.

Q. Does a positive test result mean that I have cancer?

A. No. Genetic testing does not tell you if you currently have cancer. Your test results will tell you about your inherited risk of developing cancer in the future.

Q. Does a positive test result mean that I will definitely develop cancer?

A. No. A positive test result simply tells you that you have an increased risk of cancer.

Q. How do I know if my health insurance will cover hereditary cancer testing?

A. Most insurance carriers cover genetic testing services for hereditary cancer. Although each case is unique, the average patient pays nothing out of pocket. Myriad assists in obtaining the best possible reimbursement for each of the genetic tests we offer with the goal of making sure you receive the appropriate coverage from your insurance plan.

Q. What kinds of payment plans does Myriad offer?

A. If you receive a bill from Myriad, we are extremely flexible. We routinely offer an interest-free 25 month payment plan when your co-insurance, deductible or uncovered services will cost $375 or more. (That’s roughly $15 per month, with zero interest.) Our friendly staff will happily find a way to make the payments work for you. If you have concerns about your bill, you can contact us at the 800 number that appears on your bill and we guarantee that we will work with you to find an option that’s right for you.

Q. What if I don’t have any health insurance at all?

A. You can pay for the testing service yourself. If needed, we can set up an installment payment plan that is practical for you. We can even offer testing at no charge to uninsured patients in the U.S. who meet specific financial and medical criteria. Due to regulatory limitations, patients who are recipients of government-funded programs like Medicaid and Medicare are not eligible to apply for this assistance.

Learn more about our Financial Assistance Program.