What is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic counseling helps you understand your inherited cancer risk. A certified genetic counselor at the AnMed Cancer Center can assess the likelihood of you getting certain types of cancer. If you’re a cancer patient at AnMed, you can schedule an appointment for this service at no charge.
Knowing your inherited risk can help you make informed decisions about your future healthcare. If you have genetic counseling, it does not automatically mean you will get genetic testing. Genetic testing may be helpful if you have a strong family history of cancer or certain kinds of cancer.
Connection Between Genes & Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, most cancers are not clearly linked to the genes you inherit from your parents. Usually, cancer results from abnormal changes (mutations) in your genes that happen throughout your life. Only some people with genetic mutations will develop cancer.
Genetic testing can help estimate your chance of developing cancer by looking for changes in your genes. It cannot tell you for sure that you will develop cancer.
Who Should Consider Genetic Counseling?
You and your family members may want to consider genetic counseling if you have:
- Cancer diagnosis before age 50 (especially breast, colon, uterine and ovarian cancers)
- Multiple relatives with the same or related cancers (breast/ovarian and colon/uterine)
- More than one cancer diagnosis
- More than one generation of family members with cancer diagnoses
- Rare cancer or cancer that occurs most frequently in the opposite sex (e.g., breast cancer in males)
- Breast or ovarian cancer with certain ethnic backgrounds (e.g., Ashkenazi Jews)
Your genetic counseling appointment will last about an hour. You’ll talk about your personal and family medical history, risk factors and genetic testing options. The genetic testing discussion includes the type of testing panel right for you, insurance coverage and test scheduling.