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Genetic Testing for Prostate Cancer

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Genetic Testing involves examining a sample of your DNA through blood or saliva. This testing can provide important information by looking for changes (mutations) in your genes (genetic instructions). These changes can cause potential increased risks for prostate or other cancers for you and or your family

Genetic Testing is a great way to help men and their families who have a greater chance of getting prostate and other cancer understand their risks and provide them with personalized screening and medical management recommendations for the best treatment outcomes

Who should get genetic testing?

The risk for having prostate cancer rises with the number of family members who have prostate, breast, colon, or ovarian cancer in themselves or their families. Men that have family history of the disease have a 1 in 5 chance of having it themselves at some point in their lifetime. A man is also two to three times more likely to get prostate cancer if his father, brother or son has had it.

Benefits of Genetic Testing

Genetic testing can help provide high risk patients with recommendations that can help:

  • Provide early detection for prostate and other types of cancer
  • Inform you family members of their health risks too.
  • Make a cancer risk reduction plan if you are at an increased risk of getting prostate cancer.
  • Understand the cancer in your family and discover if inherited factors have contributed to yours or a family member's cancer
  • Make a personalized treatment plan for those that have a cancer diagnosis, possibly  providing options for additional treatments or studies
  • Give you peace of mind if you do not have an increased risk of getting cancer.
  • Give you and or your family members answers for the cause of your cancer diagnosis

What does genetic counseling and testing involve?

During your appointment a Genetic Counselor will do the following:

  • Discuss and review you and family's medical history.
  • Decide what genetic testing options might be helpful for identifying your risk.
  • Explain the benefits and limitations of genetic testing
  • Genetic testing can typically be completed through either a just simple blood testing or saliva collection

After you receive your genetic test results, you'll have a follow up appointment where the Genetic Counselor will:

  • Explain your test results and what they mean for you and your family.
  • Discuss any remaining cancer risks based on the combination of your test results and remaining family history
  • Plan custom-made medical management options for cancer detection and prevention, including screening and surgery.
  • Provide a copy of your family tree, genetic test results and any important written information directly to you, the patient.

Your Genetic Counselor

Cancer Genetic counselors help patients and their families make educated decisions about their hereditary cancer risks, genetic testing and follow-up care. A genetic counseling appointment can still be very beneficial even if you decide not to have genetic testing done at that time.

Cancer Genetic Counselors at UI Health:

Lara Balay, MS Ed., MS CGC
Genetic Counselor
UI Health - Hereditary Cancer Program

Tara Maga, PhD, MS, CGC
Genetic Counselor 
UI Health - Hereditary Cancer Program


Health insurance typically covers genetic counseling appointments and in many cases pays for genetic testing when it is recommended by your genetic counselor or doctor. When you see a genetic counselor they will typically help you understand and verify if your insurance covers the recommended genetic testing.

For more information, you can reach out to your insurance or call our cancer genetic counselors with questions.

Our Location

UIH Outpatient Care Center
1801 West Taylor Street, Suite 1E
Chicago, Illinois 60612