Our genetic counselors can help you understand your risk to develop cancer and determine if there is an inherited cancer risk in your family. We are also happy to provide information about possible cancer screenings and risk reducing options for you and your family. If there is an increased genetic risk for you or your family, our genetic counselors are here to work with you and your doctors to assist in making medical management decisions

What is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling and genetic testing may help discover the cause of your cancer or the cancer(s) in your family. Sometimes, it can also tell you if you have an increased risk for cancers that are not running in your family.

Genetic Counseling is the process of helping people understand how genetics can play a role in developing cancer. Certain families have hereditary cancer conditions that can be passed down through generations. A genetic counselor is a healthcare provider specifically trained to evaluate your family history and determine if genetic testing would benefit you and your family.

Who Should See a Genetic Counselor?

Talking to a genetic counselor may be helpful if you or your family member has experienced any of the following:

  • Certain cancers diagnosed at a younger age (breast, colon, or uterine cancer diagnosed before 50)
  • Ovarian cancer diagnosed at any age
  • 10 or more colon polyps
  • A male diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer
  • A male diagnosed with breast cancer
  • A female diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer
  • Multiple relatives with different types of cancer (breast and ovarian in one family, colon and uterine in one family, etc.)
  • Rare cancers or tumors (medullary thyroid cancer, pheochromocytoma, paraganglioma, etc.)
  • Certain ethnic backgrounds (Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry)

How is testing performed?

Genetic testing is performed using a blood sample and results are usually available within 2-3 weeks. If genetic testing is ordered, your counselor will discuss your results with you personally and will help with any follow up needed.

How can genetic counseling help me and my family?

Genetic counseling and genetic testing may help discover the cause of your cancer or the cancer(s) in your family. Sometimes, it can also tell you if you have an increased risk for cancers that are not running in your family.

 

How can I prepare for my appointment?

Researching your family history, including types of cancer and ages at diagnosis, will help your genetic counselor provide an accurate risk assessment. Sometimes, bringing a copy of your family member’s pathology report can also be helpful, particularly relating to colon polyps and kidney cancer.

Meet Our Team

Yuefeng Wang, MD, PhD

Radiation Oncologist

Alex Ryder, MD, PhD

Pathologist

Michael Ulm, MD, MS, FACOG

Gynecologic Oncologist

Learn more about how to schedule an appointment or refer a patient to our oncology specialists here at West Cancer Center.