Assess Cancer Risk with Genetic Counseling

young female patient smiling at female nurse

What is Genetic Counseling?

Each year, millions of people undergo genetic testing to learn more about their risks for certain inherited diseases and whether they’re a carrier for certain conditions or if they have a genetic mutation in genes, like BRCA1 or BRCA2, which could lead to cancer. These tests are meant to provide people with the tools they need to make informed health decisions.

The Genetic Testing Process

After a person’s personal and family history has been evaluated during an appointment, and it appears there is a chance that “cancer is running in the family,” genetic testing can help determine if a person has a hereditary predisposition to cancer.

The most common referrals for genetic counseling are for breast and colon cancer. Often, patients are referred to genetic counselors from primary care physicians following an annual physical when a person tells their provider they are interested in testing. Many referrals also come from OBGYNs following a woman’s annual well-woman’s visit. Additionally, if an individual is battling cancer, that person and their family may be referred to a genetic counselor by a medical oncologist at one of the Thompson Cancer Survival Centers. Although these are the most common reason for referrals, any healthcare provider may place a referral for genetic counseling at Thompson Cancer Survival Center.

Guidelines for Genetic Testing

If you think you may have a predisposition to a disease based on genetic factors, you should consider getting tested as soon as possible. Here are a few of the diseases that you can get screened for based on genetics:

  • Breast, colon, or uterine cancer at 50 or younger
  • Ovarian, pancreatic, or male breast cancer at any age
  • Metastatic or high grade prostate cancer at any age
  • Triple-negative breast cancer at 60 or younger
  • Two separate breast cancers in one person
  • Colon or uterine/endometrial cancer with abnormal MMR
  • A history of 10 or more precancerous colon polyps in one person
  • Three people on one side of the family with the same or related cancers
  • Known Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
  • A family member with a known mutation in a gene related to an increased risk of cancer

Genetic testing allows you the opportunity to learn more about your health as it relates to what is being passed down through your family. 

Get Genetic Testing at the Thompson Cancer Survival Center

At Thompson Cancer Survival Center, leading cancer specialists who use the most advanced technologies to achieve breakthrough successes in treating many types of cancer.  Visit or call (865) 331-1678 to learn more.

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