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What is Genetic Testing?
Should you have genetic testing for an inherited mutation linked to cancer? Learn more information to decide if genetic testing is right for you.

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Genetic Testing for Risk

Genetic testing for an (also called "germline genetic testing") is a type of medical test that can help people learn about their risk for cancer. The test looks for changes in your that are linked to an increased risk for cancer. 

How is genetic testing done? 

Genetic testing can be done on blood, saliva or tissue. Once the sample is collected it is sent to a genetic testing lab. Tests usually take between 2-6 weeks for results. 

Genetic testing can help people make medical decisions

Genetic testing can help people make medical decisions. Genetic test results can help people diagnosed with cancer make treatment decisions. Test results can help people learn about their future risk for cancer, and their options for lowering their risk or detecting cancer early.   

More Information on Genetic Testing for Cancer Risk

Types of Genetic Tests

Genetic tests are not all the same. Learn about the different types of tests.

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Benefits and Limitations

Genetic testing can provide important information, but there are limitations to testing.

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Types of Test Results

It's important to understand the different types of test results and what they mean.

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Genetic Testing Guidelines

Expert guidelines outline who is most likely to benefit from genetic testing. 

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Deciding about Testing

Following these steps can help you decide if genetic testing is right for you. 

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Genetic Counseling

Genetics experts can help you understand genetic testing and interpret test results. 

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Participate in Genetics Research

Below are some of our featured research studies looking at genetic testing. To search for additional studies, visit our Search and Enroll Tool

More Resources

Paying For Care
Paying For Care

Insurance coverage for genetic counseling and testing

Most health plans cover genetic counseling and testing for inherited gene mutations linked to cancer in people who meet the national guidelines. The cost of testing and your out-of-pocket charges may vary based on several factors.

People who are denied coverage for genetic testing can file an appeal (FORCE has sample appeal letters). Your healthcare provider can work with your insurance company and help you file an appeal if needed. Low cost testing may be available for $250 or less. Learn more about coverage for genetic counseling and testing here

If you need information about finding an insurance plan, watch our video: Choosing Wisely: How to Pick Insurance Plans.

testing under the Affordable Care Act

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies must pay for both genetic counseling and  testing with no out-of-pocket costs for women who meet certain criteria. The ACA regulations are limited to testing for and only and do not cover genetic counseling or testing in all situations. You can learn more about testing under the ACA here

Medicare and Medicaid coverage of genetic testing

Genetic counseling and testing is typically covered by Medicare for people already diagnosed with cancer who are in treatment or for whom test results may affect their care. Most state Medicaid programs cover genetic testing for and mutations for people who meet requirements, which vary by state. You can read more about Medicare and Medicaid coverage of genetic testing here.

Financial assistance or low cost genetic testing

JScreen is a national program based out of Emory University that provides low-cost at-home genetic counseling and testing with financial assistance available. Many laboratories offer low-cost genetic testing or financial assistance programs. Programs vary, so if you are not eligible for assistance through one lab, consider contacting other labs to see if you qualify .   

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

The following clinical trials include genetic counseling and testing. 

Other genetic counseling or testing studies may be found here.


Last updated January 31, 2022