Germline genetic testing overview

If you have cancer, you may have had genetic testing done before. This testing can show that you have a genetic or inherited cause for cancer. Germline genetic testing is used specifically to help assess your relative’s risk for cancer.

It is important that you share this information with your family members since you share some of your genes with your family members. Learn more about the advantages of germline genetic testing and its availability below.

Which relatives should I share this Information with?

Your parents, children and siblings are your closest relatives, and you should share information about germline testing with them. More extended relatives like your aunts, uncles and grandparents may also be at risk to have a similar genetic mutation, so this information may also be important for them. Your genetic counselor can help you identify the best people in the family to share this information with.

How it works

Before undergoing germline testing, your relative’s doctor or genetic counselor will explain the risks and benefits of genetic testing, then collect a blood or saliva sample for testing. Next, the results are evaluated and the genetic counselor or doctor will provide specific recommendations to reduce their risk of cancer or to identify it at an early stage.

The video below will walk you through how genetic testing can help your family members and what information you should share with them so that they can decide if they want to get genetic testing for themselves.


If your family members have any questions about genetic testing or want to meet with one of our genetic counselors, they can call our genetic counselors at 859-323-2798 or e-mail them at

For more contact information on the Precision Medicine Clinic Research Office, visit our research based page.

To learn more about genetic counseling opportunities at Markey, visit the genetic counseling homepage.

Markey Cancer Center is NCI-designated

The UK Markey Cancer Center was first designated by the National Cancer Institute in 2013 – a distinction that recognizes our extraordinary ability to provide world-class care for our patients. We are the only NCI-designated cancer center in Kentucky and one of only 71 in the nation.