What to expect from an Appointment
Each session has several steps to determine and understand your genetic cancer risk.
Medical and Family History Review
The genetic counselor will complete and review your family history creating a cancer-focused family tree during your appointment. Based on information discussed, the genetic counselor will be able to determine if the cancer could be hereditary and if you meet guidelines for testing
In order to test for these mutations, a blood sample will be taken. In the appointment the genetic counselor will discuss the type of testing options available.
A small but significant percent of people who have had cancer have what is called hereditary cancer. Hereditary cancers occur due to changes (mutations) in specific genes passed down in the bloodline from relative to relative.
People who have these changes, along with their family members may be at higher risk of developing cancer during their lifetime. Genetic counseling will help patients understand their risk as well as available treatment and management options.
Cancer Screening and Prevention
Based on the results and family history, the genetic counselor will discuss different screening options available to you. Often these include screening options and preventative surgery.
People may want to see a genetic counselor if:
- Two or more close family members have the same type of cancer
- Same type of cancer in several generations of a family
- Are of Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry with history of breast cancer and/or prostate cancer
- History of breast and ovarian cancer
- Polyposis, or multiple polyps in stomach or intestines
You may also be referred to a genetic counselor if you have been diagnosed with cancer and testing can help to better understand future cancer risks as well as more therapeutic options. Usually, this occurs when a patient has:
- Developed cancer under the age of 50
- Diagnosed with two more separate cancers
- Developed a rare cancer [Ovarian, Pancreatic]
- Have a family history of the same or related type of cancer
- Metastatic prostate cancer
How to prepare
At your first appointment, you will be seeing one of our genetic counselors to review family history as well as gain an understanding of the role that genes play when it comes to cancer.
The genetic counselors will complete a risk analysis based on this information to check if you meet any guidelines for genetic testing. If appropriate, testing will be ordered and a plan to discuss results will be established.
Once the results are disclosed, the genetic counselor will work with providers to determine what screening or future health plans is necessary. The genetic counselor will also discuss sharing results with other family members at that time.
Before coming to your appointment please complete the following paperwork:
- Complete Cancer Family & Medical History Questionnaire
- Gather information on family (Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, Parents, Children)
- Current age or age of death
- Type of Cancer
- Age at which cancer was diagnosed
Required documentation for appointment:
- Photo ID
- Insurance Cards
- Prior genetic tests (if applicable)
- Genetic test results of family members (if applicable)