If an individual has a family history of cancer, their chances of a cancer diagnosis may be higher than the average person. The genetic counseling program was created to provide counseling and testing services for people with a family history of cancer.
Using the list below one can evaluate their personal risk for hereditary cancer. If any of these apply, cancer genetic counseling may be appropriate.
- A personal or family history of breast, ovarian, colon or uterine cancer diagnosed before age 50
- Abnormal Immunohistochemistry (IHC) screening of a colon or uterine tumor (indicates an increased risk for a hereditary cancer syndrome)
- Multiple relatives on the same side of the family with the same or related cancers
- A personal or family history of a single person in the family with multiple primary cancers
- A personal or family history of male breast cancer Jewish ancestry and a personal or family history of any of the cancers already mentioned
- A known genetic condition in the family (Lynch syndrome, BRCA, etc.)
In our program, a certified genetic counselor will analyze and discuss an individuals personal risks of developing a cancer. The genetic counselor will also discuss what the individual and their family can do to lower their chances of getting cancer and increase the chance for early detection if cancer does occur. The individual and their healthcare providers can then discuss the best options.
What happens during a genetic counseling appointment?
A genetic counselor will meet with an individual and obtain a detailed family and medical history. Based on their risk assessment, the genetic counselor will help the individual understand their options for avoiding or managing the diseases for which they may be at risk. Risks for both the individual and their family will be discussed. Genetic testing is available for a small but growing number of conditions. The genetic counselor will discuss testing options as well as the benefits, risks, limitations and costs of each test. Further recommendations will be based on the individuals level of risk.
Who is a Genetic Counselor?
Genetic counselors are healthcare providers with specialized training in genetics and genetic conditions. Becoming a genetic counselor requires two years of graduate studies in medical genetics. After completing this training, these individuals must pass board exams to become certified genetic counselors. Our genetic counselors at Baptist Health Lexington are all board certified or are in the process of attaining this certification.