Genetic testing for cancer looks for specific inherited changes (mutations) in a person’s genes that are associated with a high-to-moderate increased risk of cancer. And while there are certainly benefits to being tested for these mutations, it is important to understand that there are also limitations. For example, a positive result from cancer genetic testing doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop cancer but can weigh heavily on the minds of you or your loved ones. On the other hand, a negative result doesn’t guarantee that you won’t develop cancer. 

At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, we feel that in order to make the best decision you must first weigh the pros and cons. In this section, we want to help you understand both the advantages and disadvantages of genetic testing for cancer. 

Some advantages, or pros, of genetic testing, include: 

  • A sense of relief from uncertainty 
  • A greater understanding of your health and your cancer risk
  • Information to help make informed medical and lifestyle decisions
  • Opportunity to help educate other family members about the potential risk 

Some disadvantages, or risks, that come from genetic testing can include: 

  • Testing may increase your stress and anxiety 
  • Results in some cases may return inconclusive or uncertain
  • Negative impact on family and personal relationships
  • You might not be eligible if you do not fit certain criteria required for testing 

If genetic testing is something that interests you and you would like to learn more about it, please visit our Genetic Testing FAQs page.