Our expert voices conversation on genetic testing for cancer.

Genetic testing can be an important part of cancer risk assessment, but other factors should be considered. A history of cancer -- for you or your family, predisposing conditions, and lifestyle behaviors can all influence risk for the disease and should determine a strategy for prevention.

First step: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cancer screenings, but a risk assessment should always be the first step. Routine cancer screenings, such as mammograms, are known to reduce the risk of dying from cancer, but for whom are they appropriate? And when? Determining that risk is the only way we can determine what screening tests to recommend.

What a test can tell you: Those at average and increased risk should be counseled in lifestyle changes to lower their risk, and in certain cases, preventive therapies may be prescribed to reduce risk. Cancer is often found at earlier stages with routine screenings and may require less extensive surgeries or less toxic treatments, such as a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy for small breast cancers. Certain screening tests are also equipped to identify and remove pre-cancers, so that no treatment is required.

Bottom line: Routine cancer screenings are a life-saving tool, best used when you fully understand your personal cancer risk.

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The summer of Mars

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Three missions from three different nations are heading to Mars in the next month — including one from the United Arab Emirates, a newer player in planetary exploration that is expected to launch its first spacecraft to the Red Planet this evening.

Why it matters: More nations are now going to space as the costs of launch and development are driven down. Mars is a step farther that is reserved for those with the most ability and resources — missions to the planet are a mark of scientific and technical prowess on the global stage.

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 13,113,181 — Total deaths: 573,288 — Total recoveries — 7,268,022Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 3,364,547— Total deaths: 135,615 — Total recoveries: 1,031,939 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing again.
  4. States: Houston mayor proposes two-week shutdownCalifornia orders sweeping rollback of open businesses — Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Education: Los Angeles schools' move to online learning could be a nationwide tipping point.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans fear return to school

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±7% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Most U.S. parents say it would be risky to send their children back to school in the fall — including a slim majority of Republicans and a staggering nine in 10 Black Americans — in this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have threatened to withhold federal funds from schools that don't reopen. The new findings suggest that this pressure campaign could backfire with many of the voters to whom Trump is trying to appeal ahead of the election.