What is gene testing for cancer? Dr Michael Boyer

by | Cancer Care

gene testing

Gene testing for cancer is a very broad term. We can examine for cancer to see if it is a hereditary cancer. In other words, something you inherited from your parents or something you can pass on to your children.

There’s a small number of cancers where that’s clearly very important and needs to be tested. The other thing that we sometimes talk about when we talk about gene testing for cancer is testing the genes in the cancer itself that have given rise to the cancer.

For example, about 30 to 40% of lung cancers are associated with genetic abnormalities. These are not things you can pass onto your children, but they have contributed to the cancer and they have very big implications for the way we treat the cancer.

So the kind of gene testing that is done for cancer depends on what cancer, what situation and exactly what we are looking for.

Dr Michael Boyer MBBS, FRACP, PhD

Michael has been a medical oncologist for more than 20 years, specialising in the treatment of thoracic and head and neck cancers. He continues to be actively involved in research, focusing on the testing of new anticancer drugs for the treatment of lung cancer.