DISCOVER THE FUTURE OF YOUR HEALTH
Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide. In Alabama this year, there will be more than 30,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed according to the American Cancer Society.
Cancer screening can empower you to make important health decisions for you and your family. The HudsonAlpha Information is Power Initiative is a genetic test for cancer risk. The test is a simple cheek swab that can identify an increased risk for inherited cancer. The test can be taken in the comfort of your home or in a doctor’s office.
In collaboration with your physician and a genetic counselor, you can use the information provided to plan your medical care.
You share genetics with your family. What you learn could potentially impact your parents, siblings, children, cousins and others you love.
Genetic Testing for Cancer Risk in Alabama
Learn your risk for cancer by taking our noninvasive test. The test is a simple cheek swab and the results come back in a matter of weeks. Developed by Kailos Genetics, the test looks at more than thirty genetic changes linked to breast and ovarian cancer risk, as well as colorectal and prostate cancer.
Although changes in these genes are rare, it is important to identify them because healthcare providers can use this information to alter a patient’s care or identify cancer at an earlier stage.
Who is a candidate?
Any consenting adult (person 19 years old or older) is able to learn about their hereditary cancer risk through one of the Information is Power initiatives using the test.
What will the genetic screening NOT tell me?
This genetic screening does not diagnose cancer nor does it replace other types of screening such as mammograms. It also does not tell whether an individual definitely will or will not develop cancer in the future, as the presence of a risk factor does not increase cancer risk to 100%. Likewise, the absence of risk factors identified through this screening does not reduce cancer risk.
What happens if I receive a positive result?
A positive result from this genetic screening indicates that a change is present in a gene that increases your risk for certain types of cancer. It does not mean that you have cancer. The specific cancer types and risk level depend on which gene has a change present. If you have a positive test result, you will receive a phone call from a HudsonAlpha genetic counselor to further explain your result and your recommended next steps, which include seeking an appointment with a clinical genetic counselor that specializes in cancer genetics. A negative result from this genetic screening indicates that no risk-increasing changes were identified in the genes tested. This does not guarantee that you will never develop cancer. It is important to consider that even in the absence of obvious genetic risk factors, each person in the general population is at a baseline risk of developing cancer.
In fall 2014, Dr. Mary-Claire King, the scientist who discovered the BRCA1 gene associated with inherited breast cancer risk, made an impassioned plea that testing be more widely available. HudsonAlpha answered that challenge for the Huntsville area and developed a community-wide screening program, Information is Power, to provide individuals in North Alabama increased access to information about their hereditary cancer risk. We continue to answer that challenge by supporting testing in North Alabama and working to expand testing throughout the state and beyond.
Sara Cooper, PhD
Faculty Investigator for HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and Information is Power Initiative Lead
Information is Power Project Coordinator
Tanner Coleman, CGC, Kelly East, CGC, Elizabeth Herrin, Jessica Merritt, Jazmine Robinson, Cathleen Shaw, Adrianna Stout