Genetic Cancer Tissue Tests
With genetic cancer tissue tests, you have the ability to learn more about the aggressiveness of your specific tumor, so you and your doctor can make a more informed decision about your treatment. At WestMed, we use the Prolaris test to help differentiate between cancers. Not every biopsy specimen can be sent for testing nor is it necessarily appropriate that all tissue be sent. Dr. Boczko and Dr. Blair make the decision based on a person’s various cancer factors such as Gleason score, core % positive, age, PSA, medical comorbidities and more.
What is Prolaris, and How Can It Help Me?
Prolaris is a measure of how fast the cells in your tumor are dividing. Since you have already had a biopsy which determined that you have prostate cancer, that tissue sample can also be used to determine your Prolaris Score™. Studies have shown that Prolaris provides an accurate assessment of cancer aggressiveness. And, because every individual’s prostate cancer is different, the result of your Prolaris test is unique to you.
You most likely already know your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and your Gleason score. These tests tell your doctor how far your cancer has progressed but not necessarily the “aggressiveness” of your disease. Two patients with the same PSA and Gleason scores may have a very different estimate of mortality risk when their Prolaris Score is included in their evaluation. Since cancer is the uncontrolled rapid growth of abnormal cells, an aggressive prostate tumor carries the potential risk of growing and spreading rapidly to other parts of your body.
What Prolaris measures is not whether you have prostate cancer, but how fast your cancer cells are dividing, or its aggressiveness. Getting a Prolaris Score will help give additional information about your cancer, which will help in determining its aggressiveness. This is because Prolaris provides unique information about your cancer that no other test can.
Hereditary Cancer and You
The occurrence of cancer may or may not be associated with your family history. Most cancers occur in people who do not have a family history and are called “sporadic cancer.” In some families, cancer happens more often than we would expect in the general population.
These type of cancers fall into two different groups:
- “Familial cancer” is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors
- “Hereditary cancer” is when a person inherited a faulty gene making cancer more likely to occur.
Approximately 5%-10% of all cancers develop because a person inherited a faulty gene. Men and women with these type of genes are far more likely to develop certain cancers, often at a much earlier age than expected and may have an increased risk of developing more than one cancer in their lifetime.
Westmed’s Dr. Boczko and Dr. Blair can determine if a patient with prostate cancer is a candidate for a test called the Myriad myRisk test. There are specific criteria for testing but if someone is a candidate, then the myRisk test could help predict the risks of the development of other cancers in that individual as well as his family. Myriad myRisk incorporates family history and genetic results to help optimize medical management and allows Dr. Boczko and Dr. Blair to incorporate a risk reduction plan.