Genetic Testing for a Lynch Mutation

What are the possible risks of Lynch Syndrome gene testing?

The only physical risk of testing is that of a routine blood draw. However, other risks and benefits should be considered before undergoing testing. The process of genetic testing may be emotionally difficult whether or not a Lynch syndrome genemutation is found. If a mutation is found, this result may indirectly provide information about other family members, who may have chosen not to be tested. In addition, costs for the cancer screening and prevention options may or may not becovered by health insurance.The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is a federal law that prohibits health insurers and employers from discriminating based on genetic information. These laws make it illegal for health insurance companies to deny you coverage or change your premiums based on your genetic test information, and a positive test result cannot be considered a pre­ existing condition. There arecurrently no federal laws that prohibit life, long term care, or disability insurance companies from discriminating based on genetic information. For additional information and a list of some rare exceptions to the GINA protections, you can visit the on­line resource http://www.ginahelp.org. Some states may also have additional protections in place.

 

What are the possible benefits of Lynch Syndrome gene testing?

One of the major advantages of learning Lynch syndrome test results is reduced uncertainty about the risks of cancer for people and their families. In addition, the testing may allow doctors to modify medical care to decrease the risk of colorectal and other Lynch syndrome­ associated cancers. Likewise, if Lynch syndrome testing is negative it may allow doctors to decrease the frequency of cancer screening. The decision to participate in Lynch syndrome gene testing is a complicated one. People and families must not only weigh the risks and benefits of testing, but they must also consider their unique situations. Ultimately, people must make their own decisions.1

1. The James, The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2015