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Cancer Genetics FAQs

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If my genetic testing is negative, showing I don’t have an increased risk of getting cancer, does this mean I’m at low risk or will never get cancer?

No. Genetic testing, while extremely accurate, can't determine whether you will or will not ever get cancer. We can narrow down your specific chances of getting certain kinds of cancer, but no test exists to say for sure what will or won't happen.

Will my genetic information be shared or used by UVA? Will my privacy be protected?

You do have rights regarding how we share your medical information, including your genetic test results. According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we can’t share your medical records with unauthorized entities.

Additionally, current laws exist to prevent discrimination based on genetic information.

How much does genetic counseling cost?

Your appointment with a genetic counselor will be billed to your insurance, and it depends on various factors such as deductibles, co-pays, and covered benefits.

Does insurance cover genetic testing?

Many insurance plans do. However, if you don’t have a personal or strong family history of cancer, you may not meet an insurance company’s criteria for coverage of the test. Some people in this situation do pay out of pocket.

Various factors impact how much you will pay for the testing, but we will ensure that you are comfortable with any expected out of pocket costs before we order your testing.

How do I find out if my insurance covers this testing?

At UVA, we use genetic testing labs who provide helpful services like:

  • Obtaining preauthorization
  • Getting out-of-pocket estimates
  • Finding out your insurance coverage
  • Billing your insurance

I’ve had a DNA test. Is that useful?

Many people these days get DNA tests through for-profit companies that look for ethnicity, ancestry, and sometimes, health conditions.

These tests miss a lot of information. They look at a very small set of mutations within a small set of genes. Their labs don’t offer the same level of sensitivity and rigorous methods offered by the genetic testing labs we use. If you do find that you are at risk for certain health issues from a commercial DNA test, don’t rely on it right away; see a genetic counselor.