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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.

The other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.

14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Lawmakers hide behind AG's investigation as Cuomo lingers

A billboard outside Albany, N.Y. Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is politically wounded but not yet dead, several state lawmakers tell Axios.

The state of play: Most are holding their fire and punting to state Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations. They expect the inquiry to be credible and thorough — and buy Cuomo badly needed breathing room.