Although the terms “genetic” and “genomic” are often used interchangeably, they are actually very different. Learning more about the differences between them can help clear up some of the confusion we often see related to hereditary genes linked to developing cancer.
Genetics usually refers to the study of specific, individual genes and whether they are passed from one generation to the next. Cancer researchers have studied hereditary gene mutations (changes) that can play a role in the development of cancer.
Genetic tests are medical tests that look for certain inherited gene mutations. This allows the genetic counselor to understand if the person being assessed is at a higher risk for developing certain kinds of cancers – such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, or others.