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Genetic Counseling & Risk Assessment

Learn about genes and cancer, signs of hereditary cancer, genetic counseling, types of genetic tests and what results mean for you and your family.

Genetic counseling

Our knowledge of hereditary cancer genetics is rapidly advancing. Consulting with an expert in cancer genetics is the best way to ensure receiving the most up-to-date and credible information. Cancer genetic counselors, geneticists, and risk assessment counselors are experts who can help individuals better understand their risk for hereditary cancer by:

  • Reviewing the family medical history including family members who never developed cancer
  • Assessing and explaining risk for hereditary cancers and the chance of finding a mutation through genetic testing
  • Discussing the benefits and limitations of genetic testing
  • Outlining available medical management options
  • Determining which family member is most appropriate to begin the genetic testing process in a family
  • Interpreting genetic test results and explaining what they mean for you and your relatives
  • Providing referrals to experts for follow-up screening and risk management
  • Providing referrals to support resources and research opportunities (including research on genetic testing, screening, treatment, etc.)
  • Discussing your risks and medical management options with your other health care provider(s)
  • Addressing common concerns about the privacy and confidentiality of personal genetic information

Genetic counselors help people make informed decisions about genetic testing and follow-up care. Counselors do not try to persuade people to have or avoid genetic testing a genetic counseling appointment can even benefit individuals who decide not to pursue genetic testing.

Updated 8/31/16

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered