What is hereditary cancer?

Cancer is a common condition with approximately one in two people developing it in in their lifetime. It develops when something has gone wrong (a mutation) with one or more of the genes in a cell. Most gene changes happen during our lifetime, but sometimes these can be inherited from a parent, these are called inherited cancer genes.


If a parent has a gene mutation then each child has a 1 in 2 chance (50%) of inheriting it. Some children will have the faulty gene and an increased risk of developing cancer and some children won’t. So, being born with one inherited faulty gene doesn’t mean that a person will definitely develop cancer, but they do have a higher risk of developing particular types of cancer (breast, ovarian, colorectal and prostate cancer) than other people and may also develop cancer at a younger age (genetic predisposition to cancer).

What is cancer genetic testing?

A cancer genetics test is a DNA test to discover whether you are carrying a genetic mutation that could cause cancer. We offer the latest, validated, hereditary cancer gene panel tests which are not routinely available elsewhere. This multi-gene technology enables us to simultaneously examine dozens of genes at once, instead of looking at the inheritance of one potentially cancer-causing mutation at a time.

Possible results following your cancer genetics test

  • 1. Mutation is found icon plus

    A mutation is found in a gene known to increase the risk of cancer.  Increased screening and risk-reducing techniques will be recommended based on your family history.  
  • 2. Genetic variation uncovered icon plus

    A genetic variation is found, but whether or not this is the definite cause of cancer is unknown. Screening will be recommended based on your medical history and family history.
  • 3. No mutation detected icon plus

    No mutation is found. It is possible that there may be an undetectable mutation or a mutation in a gene not tested. 

How do I decide whether to have a genetic test?

In some families, there are specific patterns which may indicate an inherited cancer risk. 

These could be: 

  • diagnosis of cancer at a young age
  • a member of your family having two of more types of cancer
  • several close family members being diagnosed with the same or related cancers
  • consecutive generations of a family being affected by cancer. 

If you can identify with any of the above factors and are concerned about your risk of developing cancer, book to see one of our consultant geneticists.

During your consultation, the consultant geneticist will review your and your family’s medical history to assess your cancer risk and may advise cancer genetic testing for you and your family.  

patient and consultant in room at The Lister Hospital

Who are the consultant geneticists associated to this service?

Our consultant geneticists identify the tests that are appropriate for each individual, taking into consideration family history. They can advise what the tests results will show, and inform you about available treatments and the long-term outcomes for patients diagnosed with a genetic disorder.

How much will specialist medical advise and testing cost?

An initial appointment with one of our expert consultant geneticists is £350 for 45 mins. A deposit of £100 will be taken at the time of booking to secure the appointment. 

The cost of any recommended testing will be fully discussed and consented before proceeding.

Where is our genetic testing available?

We offer genetic testing at a number of clinics throughout the HCA Healthcare UK network. The laboratory testing for genetics is undertaken by Sarah Cannon Molecular Diagnostics, part of HCA Healthcare UK. When booking your appointment we can advise on the service which is available closest to you.

Contact Us

If you are concerned about whether your family history could put you at risk of developing cancer, get in touch to book a consultation with our team of consultant geneticists today.

020 7317 2504
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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