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Genetic Counseling Services

What is Genetic Counseling? 

Genetic counseling assists in assessing one's risk for hereditary medical conditions. Genetic counselors are healthcare professionals trained in counseling and medical genetics.

If you have a family history of cancer, your chances of a cancer diagnosis may be higher than the average person.

You can use the list below to evaluate your risk for hereditary cancer. If any of these apply, cancer genetic counseling may be appropriate for you.

  • 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.)

A certified genetic counselor will analyze and discuss your personal risks of developing a cancer. The genetic counselor will also discuss what you and your family can do to lower your chances of getting cancer and increase the chance for early detection if cancer does occur. You and your healthcare providers can then discuss the best options.

What should I expect during a genetic counseling appointment?

A genetic counselor will meet with you and obtain a detailed family and medical history. Based on your risk assessment, the genetic counselor will help you understand your options for avoiding or managing the diseases for which you may be at risk. Risks for both you and your 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 your 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.