Close relatives of an individual with a PALB2 alteration can ask to be referred to their local genetics service by their GP to access genetic counselling. The genetic counselling process involves talking about PALB2 risks and how they can be managed as well as genetic testing. Your genetics clinician will go through your family tree to show you who in your family is at risk of having the PALB2 alteration.
Testing for the PALB2 in Children
Predictive genetic testing for children is not offered. If you carry a PALB2 alteration, once they are 18 or older, each of your children can choose whether to have genetic testing to find out if they have inherited the PALB2 gene alteration.
Is the PALB2 mutation hereditary?
If you are a carrier of a PALB2 alteration, your close relatives (brothers, sisters, and your children) will have a 50% chance of inheriting the PALB2 alteration and it is highly likely to have been present in your family for many generations. It is only now that scientists can identify who carries PALB2 alterations. You would almost certainly have inherited the alteration from either your mother or your father. It is extremely rare for a person to carry a PALB2 alteration which has not been inherited from one of their parents.
Remember, having the alteration doesn’t mean you or your family member will develop cancer. The risk of breast cancer in women for instance is around 50% and in men only 1%.
If you do need cancer treatment your oncology team will need to know you have a PALB2 alteration as it may change the treatment you are offered.