The most common types of genetic cancer testing currently performed are for genes that predispose to breast or ovarian cancer or testing for the several genes that predispose carriers to colon cancer.Professional medical organizations have issued guidelines suggesting that children not undergo genetic testing for adult-onset disorders unless treatment in childhood would substantially affect the outcome of the serious adult disorder (American Medical Association, 1995; American Society of Human Genetics/American College of Medical Genetics, Statement on Children, 1995), and most professionals concur.
However, several pediatric conditions involve disposition to pediatric cancers for which genetic testing is available and is, in some cases, considered standard patient care.Discussion of these conditions provides a template for raising general questions about the genetic testing of children.gene is autosomal dominant; thus, each child has a 50% chance of inheriting the deleterious mutation.LFS family members who are mutation carriers have a 40% chance of developing cancer by age 20 (Williams & Strong, 1985), far above the population risk of malignancy in childhood.Families are often devastated by cancer in multiple generations, and multiple cases of rare pediatric cancers can occur in the same nuclear family.
Members of LFS cancer families often report anxiety originating in childhood about the patterns of cancer in their family.
It outlines some of the research questions regarding inherited disease predisposition and related ethical issues and provides an overview of the training in genetic concepts, methodologies, and outcomes that pediatric psychologists will need to meet clinical and research challenges.
Geneticists, genetic counselors, nurses, specialty physicians (e.g., developmental pediatricians, oncologists, neurologists), psychologists, and other mental health professionals all make important contributions in helping children and families cope with genetic disease.
Because of the limits of direct medical benefit, there has so far been little genetic testing of unaffected children in LFS families.
However, in cases where children are diagnosed with target cancers and the family history involves or is suspicious for LFS, testing is likely.
MEN2 is the rare case where identification of a genetic mutation is usually quickly followed by a targeted treatment.