I am happy I took the Color Genomics test. I was made to understand the numerous benefits as well as the disadvantages of the test during the entire process. As at the time I left, I felt satisfied and more enlightened about cancer. But I didn’t feel utterly immune to the risks because of my genetics.
They were very little information on the report, contrary to my expectations. I was particularly interested in the genetic variants which were identified in the genes evaluated. Aside from these, the primary reason for taking the test was to discover the level of my exposure to cancer risks due to the variants. And the results were communicated clearly and effectively. This has also broadened my knowledge about cancer and how it can be triggered by diseases an one’s genetic makeup.
Color Genomics is a business that deals with the sales of genetic predisposition test especially that of hereditary cancer. Othman Laraki and Elad Gil were the founders of the company. With their wealth of experience from Twitter, Microsoft and Google as well as Gil’s doctorate in cancer biology; they were able to introduce genetic cancer screening test in 2015.
The website had a lot of information regarding the Color test. While there, I got to understand that the test would evaluate my hereditary or genetic risks to 8 different kinds of cancers using the info from my DNA. About 30 genes were to be screened for the mutation associated with an increased risk. The “how it works” section where the procedures an expectations from the test conducted were carefully explained. I was glad in the manner in which the company explained cancer and its complexity. They specifically made it clear that its still not well understood and most of the cases happened at random rather than resulting from the different inherited mutations identified in the test. Each section encouraged me to read further, and the terms and conditions were such that I considered as normal. Although, Color made it clear that the DNA of persons under the age of 18 will not be subject to evaluation.
This was pretty easy. Several images of the kit and its components could be seen on the purchase page. A video displaying how I could collect my sample after receiving my kit was also included. I could either order for someone or myself.
When I entered my UK address, I was dumbfounded to see my shipping fee to have increased from $9.95 to $61. I was asked to take a family history survey when I was activating the test. And I was shown a video to get me set for the results. The email communication on periodic intervals and the and the detailed explanations of what the test is all about made me feel supported and enlightened throughout the process.
I got a mail informing me that my sample was now in the lab, alongside some info about what I should expect next. After three weeks, I got another mail informing me that my results were ready.
This point, I was so nervous than necessary. According to the mail, I could decide to check my results regularly from there or do it with a genetic counselor. I saw a link in the email where I could book an appointment. A click on another link in the email directed me to my account. Before the results page, there was an initial page that talked about what the test is and what it is not. I clicked to show that I understood and logged in. I heaved a sigh of relief when I saw a clear notice at the top of the page that I was free from any mutations associated with an increased risk of cancer. I was happy with the way the information was passed, and there was an option for me to download it as a PDF. But I decided to view the results in a web browser instead of downloading them. And just below the main statement, I read a paragraph that specified that among all my 30 genes analyzed; none were seen to contain any mutations associated with an increased risk of the eight types of cancer. But it further said that it doesn’t mean they were not existing, but the mutations that lead to cancer could be different from the type I inherited.
RESULTS SESSION: NEXT STEPS
The next part of the result was divided into two categories. One of which was entitled “next step” and a detailed screening guideline for all types of cancer. Generally, I was advised to avoid tobacco an engaging in regular physical exercise, which I found to be completely normal. But I felt they could have been highlighted in the context of other recommendations. However, an equal aspect was mentioned, which was the proactive steps I could take to lower my risk to these types of cancers.
RESULTS SECTION: DETAILS
This is the second part of the “next lab” section of the results. And I expected to see some information about the genetic variants that were identified in the genes analyzed. Sadly, this section concluded with the results provided on the main page of the report and the list of genes that were analyzed.
RESULTS SESSION: HISTORY, FAMILY, QUESTIONS
The report was concluded with a history section that gave a summary of the answers to the questionnaire I took previously, a family section which included information about sharing my results with relatives and some FAQ as well. Here, the questions were the most significant part of the last three sections of the report. And it included some additional information such as additional factors aside from inherited mutations that increase the chances of developing cancer. To my greatest surprise, I discovered that people from the Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry and women who gave birth for the first time at a late age are more prone to developing a certain type of cancers.
- Proactive steps and recommendations given.
- Well-written instructions for sample collection.
- Regular updates regarding status of the sample
- Very high shipping fee.
- No information on the genetic variants are given.