Genetic Tests Can Identify Your Risk for Developing Cancer or Carrying Genetic Diseases

Genetic testing can empower you. Results that confirm your risk for developing cancer can help you act proactively about prevention, early screening, and treatment. Knowing whether you carry a gene mutation that could affect your children can allow you to make important decisions about the way you build a family. Ultimately, the information provided by genetic testing can give you more control over your health care decisions.  

Accessing this advanced technology is easier than you may think. You can have genetic tests performed at the Harlingen, Texas, practice of board-certified OB/GYN Lena Speck Hopkins, MD. Dr. Hopkins helps patients get the answers they need by offering PrevenTest — a comprehensive hereditary cancer test — and NewbornGeneID, which is a test that can detect gene mutations associated with certain hereditary diseases. Both tests only require a mouthwash sample and a cheek swab. 

Read on to find out how these genetic tests can empower you to make educated health care decisions for you and your family.


PrevenTest identifies gene mutations that can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

What does PrevenTest detect?

PrevenTest doesn’t test for cancer. The test examines dozens of genes linked to numerous hereditary cancers. These gene mutations have been linked with:

Why is PrevenTest important for breast cancer prevention?

PrevenTest assesses the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. If you have a mutation in either of these genes, you may be diagnosed with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome. Being diagnosed with HBOC doesn’t mean you have cancer, but that your chances of developing it are higher than those who don’t have it. Women with HBOC also have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer and skin cancer. 

Early detection can increase your chances of surviving breast cancer. Women in the United States have a 12% chance of developing breast cancer by the time they reach age 80. However, women who have inherited mutations in the BRCA1 gene have a 72% risk of developing cancer by age 80, while women with a BRCA2 mutation have a 69% risk of developing the disease. Knowing you have a gene mutation can give you an early start on screenings and intervention. 


NewbornGeneID is a method of testing for parents and prospective parents. The test identifies recessive genes linked to many hereditary genetic conditions. If you have a gene mutation without symptoms of the associated disease, the gene is considered recessive, and you are considered a carrier.

A recessive gene can be passed down without causing the disease for generations. As a result, about 80% of all recessive conditions occur without a family history of the disease.

Your NewbornGeneID results can determine the likelihood of passing on a recessive gene to a child, who then may develop the condition. A child carries two copies of most genes, with one copy from each parent. If both you and your partner are carriers of the same recessive gene mutation, your child has a 25% chance of getting the gene from both of you and developing the disorder, and a 50% chance of being a carrier. If only one parent has the gene mutation for a specific disorder, your child has a 50% chance of becoming a carrier. 

What does NewbornGeneID detect?

NewbornGeneID tests for 62 hereditary genetic conditions with one sample. The conditions include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Tay-Sach disease, and spinal muscular atrophy. 

Testing positive for a gene mutation doesn’t mean that you have the disease associated with it or that your children will have it. However, it does increase the risk of passing it on to one of your children versus someone who doesn’t have the mutation. 

Who should get the NewbornGeneID test?

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that all pregnant women and those who are planning a pregnancy consider a carrier screening. Members of the following ethnic groups have a higher incidence of some hereditary genetic conditions:

To find out more about genetic testing to determine if you’re at risk of developing cancer or carrying a hereditary genetic disease, book an appointment over the phone with Lena Speck Hopkins, MD today.

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