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Hereditary Cancer Screening

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Color Test for Hereditary Cancer Screening

What is the Color Test?

Understand your genetic risk for the most common hereditary cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer.

Color analyzes 30 genes – including BRCA1 and BRCA2 – to help women and men understand their risk for the most common hereditary cancers, including breast, ovarian, colorectal, pancreatic and other cancers.

The Color Experience

Comprehensive testing
Color analyzes 30 genes known to impact hereditary cancer risk – including BRCA1 and BRCA2. Color’s custom software and expert team provide clinical-grade genetic testing at a fraction of the price.
Complimentary genetic counselling
Dynacare offers patients and their healthcare providers access to our team of genetic counsellors to answer any questions you may have about the Color Test or your results. You may also contact us for a genetic counselling session before proceeding with the test.
Informative results
Knowledge of an increased genetic risk enables you to work with your healthcare provider to create a personalized plan designed to prevent or detect cancer at an earlier and more treatable stage.

Why get tested?

Knowing you have a mutation in one of the 30 genes analyzed – including BRCA1 and BRCA2 – enables you to work with your healthcare provider to create a personalized plan designed to prevent or detect hereditary cancer at an earlier or more treatable stage. It may also allow for access to treatment options which require proof of positive genetic test results.

Why mutations matter

About 10-15% of most cancers are due to inherited genetic mutations.[i][ii][iii][iv]
Hereditary cancer is caused by an inherited genetic mutation. It is typical to see a recurring pattern of cancer across two to three generations – like multiple individuals diagnosed with the same type of cancer(s) and individuals diagnosed with cancer much younger than average. Everyone has a risk of carrying a mutation, regardless of family history, however the risk increases with the number of cases of cancer in your family.
Familial cancer refers to cancer that appears to occur more frequently in families than is expected from chance alone. While no specific mutation has been linked to these cancers, familial cancer may have a hereditary component that has not yet been identified.
Sporadic cancer refers to cancer that occurs due to spontaneous mutations that accumulate over a person’s life. Sporadic cancer cannot be explained by a single cause. There are several factors, such as aging, lifestyle, or environmental exposure, that may contribute to the development of sporadic cancer.
A mutation can greatly increase your risk for developing cancer.
Mutations in the genes covered by the Color Test are not common, but when present they significantly increase the chances of cancer.
For example, a BRCA1 mutation can increase a woman’s chance of breast cancer up to 81% by age 80.[v] An APC gene mutation can increase a man or woman's chances of colorectal cancer up to 70-100% by age 80 without surgical intervention.[vi],[vii]
Your provider may adjust your screening plan if you have a mutation.
Knowing that you have a mutation that increases your risk of developing cancer allows you and your healthcare provider to create a personalized screening plan, which increases the chance of early detection.
Detecting cancer early improves the odds of survival.
The 5-year survival rates for cancers covered by the Color Test increase dramatically when they are caught at an earlier and more treatable stage.[viii]

How does the Color Test work? 

How it works

Step 1: Obtain a Color kit.
Discuss with your healthcare provider whether Color’s hereditary cancer genetic test is right for you. Your healthcare provider may have kits in their office. If not, contact us at 888.988.1888 and we will ship a kit directly to your home.
Step 2: Provide a saliva sample.
Using the tube in your kit, provide a saliva sample. When your sample arrives in our laboratory, Color sequences and analyzes your genes.
Step 3: Receive your results from your provider.
On average, results are ready 3-5 weeks after the sample is received.
Step 4: Create a plan with your provider.
Your results can help you and your provider can create a personalized screening and prevention plan.

What your results will tell you

Most people receive a negative result.
This means no mutations associated with an increased risk for hereditary cancer were identified in any of the 30 genes analyzed.
While this can be reassuring, it does not eliminate your risks. Environmental and lifestyle factors and family history without a known genetic link account for the majority of cancers. It is important, regardless of your results, to follow the screening and prevention plan recommended by your healthcare provider.
A small percentage of people receive a positive result.[ix]
This means a mutation that increases your risk for cancer was identified. This result does not mean that you have cancer or that you will definitely develop cancer in your lifetime. But it is important that you discuss your results with your healthcare provider to design a personalized screening and prevention plan. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a Genetics Centre.
Because mutations can impact risk for multiple cancers, we may come across information about your genetic risk for cancers not targeted by the Color Test, like kidney and thyroid cancer. If we believe your risk for these cancers are increased due to a mutation, we will let you know.
It's normal to have variants of uncertain significance.
We are all different at the genetic level. It is common to see changes in genes that require further research to determine if they are associated with an increased risk for developing cancer. Most are eventually found to be harmless, and we will try to contact your healthcare provider when they are further classified.[x][xi][xii]
In this situation, you and your provider should use your personal and family history to formulate your screening and prevention plan.
Your results may affect your relatives as well as you.
Your results could be useful to your relatives, regarding their own chances of developing cancer. We encourage you to share your results, as testing may be useful for them as well. Even if you don’t have a mutation, your relatives may.

Genetic counsellors are here to help

Do you need to clarify what your results mean? Are you interested in the science behind genetic testing? Would you like more information before proceeding with the test? Dynacare’s genetic counsellors are available for a complimentary consultation. Genetic counselling is available in English and French. To schedule your telephone consultation, please call 888.988.1888.
To learn more, contact us at 888.988.1888 or
Access our Color patient brochure
Access our Color forms


[i] Tung N, Battelli C, Allen B, et al. Frequency of mutations in individuals with breast cancer referred for BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing using next-generation sequencing with a 25-gene panel. Cancer. January 2015;121(1):25-33. Pubmed Abstract
[ii] Pal T, Permuth-Wey J, Betts JA, et al. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for a large proportion of ovarian carcinoma cases. Cancer. December 2005;104(12):2807-16. Pubmed Abstract
[iii] Risch HA, McLaughlin JR, Cole DE, et al. Prevalence and penetrance of germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in a population series of 649 women with ovarian cancer. Am J Hum Genet. March 2001;68(3):700-10. Pubmed Abstract
[iv] Claus EB, Risch N, Thompson WD, et al. The calculation of breast cancer risk for women with a first degree family history of ovarian cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. November 1993;28(2):115-20. Pubmed Abstract
[v] King MC, Marks JH, Mandell JB, New York Breast Cancer Study Group. Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risks Due to Inherited Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. Science. October 2003; 302(5645):643-6.
[vi] Jasperson KW, Tuohy TM, Neklason DW, Burt RW. Hereditary and familial colon cancer. Gastro. 2010 Jun; 138(6):2044-58.
[vii] Burt RW, et al. Genetic testing and phenotype in a large kindred with attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis. Gastro. 2004 Aug; 127(2):444-51.
[viii] SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Breast Cancer. Published November 2013. National Cancer Institute
[ix] Tung N, Battelli C, Allen B, et al. Frequency of mutations in individuals with breast cancer referred for BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing using next-generation sequencing with a 25-gene panel. Cancer. January 2015;121(1):25-33. Pubmed Abstract
[x] Eggington JM, Bowles KR, Moyes K, et al. A comprehensive laboratory-based program for classification of variants of uncertain significance in hereditary cancer genes. Clin Genet. September 2014;86(3):229-37. Pubmed Abstract
[xi] Easton DF, Deffenbaugh AM, Pruss D et al. A systematic genetic assessment of 1,433 sequence variants of unknown clinical significance in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer-predisposition genes. Am J Hum Genet. November 2007;81(5):873-83. Pubmed Abstract
[xii] Akbari MR, Zhang S, Fan I, et al. Clinical impact of unclassified variants of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. J Med Genet. October 2011;48(11):783-6. Pubmed Abstract