Genetic Counselor Kimberly Banks describes if young children can undergo genetic testing.
Genetic Counselor Kimberly Banks:
The age at which we will think about testing children, childhood children or adult children, it depends on the cancer syndrome. So, for syndromes where the cancer risks are all in adulthood, we are not going to start doing screening until age 21 or 25. So we are not going to think about testing them because we are not going to do anything different until that age. And if it’s for an adult onset disorder, the adult child should be allowed to make that decision for themselves as an adult. Do they want the information? When do they want it? How do they want to use it?
So for a family with hereditary colon cancer, where we would start the colonoscopies at 25, we are not going to test a 15-year-old because it doesn’t matter if that 15-year-old has a mutation or not. We are not going to do anything until 25.
There are other hereditary cancer syndromes where there are childhood onset cancers, or we start screening younger, in which case in those instances, we would facilitate testing at that younger age.
So it’s all specific to what genetic thing is going on in the family, but if there’s nothing different to do in childhood, we are not going to test the child.
About Kimberly Banks, M.S., C.G.C.:
Kimberly Banks, M.S., C.G.C., is the Program Coordinator and a Genetic Counselor at The Cancer Genetics Program in The Center For Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California. Kimberly received her master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from California State University, Northridge, and conducted her fellowship at City of Hope National Medical Center. She is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
Visit Kimberly Banks at St. Joseph Hospital Cancer Genetics Program: