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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is sequencing and the prostate cancer GRS?

A: DNA sequencing is a process of reading the individual letters that make up your DNA, in the order that they are arranged. By comparing your DNA with the known DNA from a standardized reference human genome, we can determine where you have variations from the reference, or "variants". Not all variants are harmful, but some are known to increase the chance of developing diseases.

With advancements made in medicine and genetics, a number of DNA variants have been identified that are found more often in individuals with prostate cancer. These variants individually are not able to predict your risk of developing prostate cancer, but information from multiple variants can be combined to calculate a Genetic Risk Score (GRS).

We use DNA sequencing to identify your DNA variants and calculate a Genetic Risk Score (GRS).

Q: Who should get the prostate cancer GRS?

A: Any male of non-Hispanic white, African American, or eastern Asian descent over the age of 18 should get the prostate cancer GRS. Your GRS does not change over your lifetime, making it applicable to all males, regardless of age. However, prostate cancer typically develops later in life, making it even more useful for males in their 40s and up.

Getting your prostate cancer GRS, particularly in your 40s and up, can help you make more informed, personalized decisions regarding your prostate cancer screening.

Q: Does a physician need to order the NorthShore Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score?

A: Yes. For your convenience, and as part of the overall ordering and test authorization process, our partners at Genome Medical, a nationwide medical practice solely focused on genetics and genomics, will review the information you provided (including your personal and medical history). Genetic counselors and/or physicians from Genome Medical may reach out to you to discuss any questions or concerns they have or to provide additional information in light of your personal and medical history. Once the test is complete, test results will be reviewed by Genome Medical genetic experts and will be made available to you within 1-2 weeks after your sample is received. You can contact Genome Medical by calling 877.688.0992 or by emailing Clinical@genomemedical.com.

Q: How and when will I receive my test results?

A: As part of the overall ordering and test authorization process, our partners at Genome Medical, a nationwide medical practice solely focused on genetics and genomics, will review the information you provided (including your personal and family medical history). Genetic counselors and/or physicians from Genome Medical may reach out to you to discuss any questions or concerns they have or to provide additional information in light of your personal and medical history.

Once the test is complete, test results will be reviewed by Genome Medical genetic experts and will be made available to you approximately 1-2 weeks after your sample is received. You will receive an email containing a personalized report with your individual GRS, lifetime risk, as well as your remaining lifetime risk.

You can contact Genome Medical by calling 877.688.0992 or by emailing Clinical@genomemedical.com.

If you have not previously been sequenced by Helix, please allow 4-8 weeks to be sequenced after returning your kit. Once your sequence is available, please allow 1-2 weeks for your results.

Q: What will my results tell me?

A: Your test result will provide you with your personalized genetic risk score, as well as your remaining lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer. Your prostate cancer GRS compares your risk to the general population by placing you in a risk category (average risk, moderately high risk, high risk) and does not change as you age. Your remaining lifetime risk will change and takes into consideration your current age and your GRS. A detailed explanation about your risk will be included in the report.

Q: What is Helix?

A: Helix is a personal genomics company with a simple but powerful mission: to empower every person to improve their life through DNA. Helix was the first marketplace for DNA-powered products where people can explore diverse and uniquely personalized products. 

Q: What type of sample is needed?

A: A simple saliva sample using Helix's in-home DNA kit is all that is required. If you have already been sequenced by Helix, you will not need to provide another sample.

Q: Is the prostate cancer GRS covered by insurance?

A: At this time, insurance companies do not cover the cost of the prostate cancer GRS.

Q: How does Helix provide my DNA information to NorthShore?

A: Your DNA information is stored securely by Helix. When sequencing is complete, Helix only sends the relevant DNA information needed by NorthShore to generate your results. Helix does not share your DNA information with anyone without your permission. Helix always maintains the highest standards when it comes to the security and privacy of your DNA information.

Q: How and when will I receive my test results?

A:Test results will be reviewed by Genome Medical's specialists and will be made available to you within 1-2 weeks after Helix provides NorthShore with your relevant genetic information.

Q: How are my results used by my physician in my ongoing care?

A: NorthShore will not send your GRS to your physician.

You may bring your GRS results to your physician for review. Based on your GRS, family history, and other risk factors, you and your physician can make a personalized prostate cancer screening plan.