Mount Elizabeth Novena Centre for Genomic Health


Understanding clinical genetic testing

A: Doctors may order clinical genetic testing for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To test for genetic mutations that cause an increased risk for cancer

  • To diagnose a particular disease or rare condition

  • To uncover the main cause of a disease

  • To determine various treatment options and plans for a disease

  • To come up with a disease prevention plan to potentially reduce the risk of getting a certain condition

  • To find out if a specific genetic condition runs in your family for early detection

A: Commercial genetic testing, also known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, is primarily used for non-clinical purposes such as guiding your well-being, determining your ancestry, and learning about your countries of origin.

DTC genetic testing’s shortfall is detecting potential health problems, with inaccuracies associated with the process. This is why it cannot be relied on solely for medical decisions.

On the other hand, medical-grade genetic testing, also known as clinical genetic testing, has a stringent testing process and is run and supervised by a certified clinician from start to finish.

The testing process is also more complex, allowing it to produce far more in-depth results, which can help identify mutations in the DNA. This allows it to give patients a comprehensive overview of their genetic cancer risk, among other diseases.

A: Mount Elizabeth Novena Centre for Genomic Health currently does clinical genetic testing for:

  1. Familial hypercholesterolemia
  2. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  3. Hereditary cancer syndromes

Please consult our genetic counsellors if there is a specific genetic test you require.

A: Genetic testing entails the analysis of an individual's DNA to identify genetic mutations associated with cancer risk, offering insights into inherited or acquired predispositions.

Cancer marker screening, on the other hand, primarily detects specific biomarkers or substances in bodily fluids, aiding in cancer diagnosis, monitoring treatment response, and assessing disease progression.

While genetic testing evaluates long-term cancer risk, cancer marker screening focuses on immediate cancer detection and management, distinguishing them as separate approaches in cancer care.

A: Genetic testing is recommended for all cancer patients. The National Cancer Comprehensive Network (NCCN) recommends that all breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer patients undergo genetic testing. 1 in 8 cancer patients carry a genetic mutation which caused their cancer diagnosis.

The genetic testing process

A: A referral letter is not required, and you may book an appointment directly with us.

A: To arrange a genetic counselling session, local patients may call our helpdesk hotline at +65 6933 0020 or email for an appointment.

Overseas patients may contact one of the Patient Assistance Centres in their country of residence for further assistance. Alternatively, they may email for assistance.

A: You may get an overview of the genetic testing journey at our centre here.

A: A sample of your blood will be drawn and sent for analysis.

A: Our genetic counsellors will guide you in deciding which genetic test(s) to do. They are experienced and trained in assessing your family and medical histories to determine the likelihood of specific genetic conditions.

Alternatively, if you are seeing a specialist, your doctor can make a recommendation.

A: Your clinical genetic test results may significantly impact you and your loved ones.

Genetic counselling involves assessing your and your family’s medical histories to determine the likelihood of a genetic condition. It also involves the interpretation of genetic variants, discussing testing options, and managing and preventing diseases by providing you and your loved ones with objective information so you can make informed decisions together.

The professional guidance of an experienced genetic counsellor can ease the burden on you and your loved ones throughout your entire genetic testing journey.

A: In your final report, you can expect to see:

  1. The result, including details of a specific variant (mutation), if any

  2. Online management resources available

  3. The genes which were analysed

  4. Detailed information on the methods used

  5. Guidelines and information on steps you may choose to take moving forward

A: Your clinical genetic test results will be ready within 4 – 6 weeks, and we will contact you to schedule a review.

A: A positive test result does not mean you have the disease. Rather, it only indicates a risk of getting the disease.

A: Our team will contact you through mobile or email, whichever you prefer. Your review session can be conducted in person or via teleconsultation.

A: For detailed information on the cost of genetic testing at our centre, please visit our fees page.

Data confidentiality

A: Our centre is licensed by the Ministry of Health, Singapore, under the PHMC and HCSA Act and will comply with all patient confidentiality requirements of the relevant legislation.

All results will be stored in the centre's Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.

A: No, you do not have to.