Information for patients

Why would I have a 'genetic' test?

If you’ve been diagnosed with certain types of cancer, your consultant may recommend some ‘genetic’ tests. In some cases these tests may be designed to look for inherited mutations that are present in all your cells and can affect the risk of developing cancer in the first place. However, in relation to guiding potential treatment options, the tests are more often designed to look for somatic or ‘acquired’ mutations that are only present in the tumour cells themselves. This is because information about these mutations can tell us what’s driving your cancer’s growth and thus which treatments may or may not help to slow or stop that growth. Here at SCMD, we can also use genetic information to see whether you might be eligible for any potential clinical trials.

What tests do you offer?

We offer a range of different tests, some based on DNA and/or RNA sequencing, others using a technology called PCR. The tests vary in cost, input requirements, turn around times and also yield different amounts and types of information. What information you need, how quickly you need it and the type of technology that is most suitable depends on the type of cancer you have and how far it may have progressed. Your consultant should know if there’s a test that will suit you, and if they are unsure they are very welcome to contact us for advice.

What is Sarah Cannon?

Sarah Cannon is the Cancer Institute of HCA, and one of the world’s best-known institutes specialising in cancer treatment. Through Sarah Cannon, patients in the UK have access to the latest therapies and clinical trials. Sarah Cannon has been a clinical trial leader in the majority of cancer therapies over the last 10 years. We use the information in our tests to help direct patients into clinical trials that may be right for them.

If I want a test, what do I do next?

Speak to your oncologist. They should know whether this type of testing might be helpful, and which particular test would suit you best. Alternatively, if they are unsure, or if you just want some background information before you speak to them, feel free to send us an email or give us a call . We will be only too happy to provide scientific/technical and logistical advice, but please be aware that as laboratory professionals we cannot provide any form of medical advice or treatment recommendations.

If you have already had these discussions and know that you are ready to proceed, click here to download a list of what to do next.

Useful links to other HCA sites

If you would like to make an appointment to see one of HCA’s consultant physicians, see what other services are available from HCA laboratories or look at the portfolio of clinical trails running at our research institute, please follow the links below.

HCA Healthcare UK

HCA Laboratories

Sarah Cannon Research Institute