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Cancer Genetic Counseling

Reducing the risk of hereditary cancer

Certain types of cancer can have a hereditary link. Prisma Health helps families understand their history of cancer. Staffed by board-certified genetic counselors, our goals are to identify individuals and families at increased risk for hereditary cancer, offer options for genetic testing, and to reduce your chance for developing cancer through screenings and a risk-reduction plan.

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Comprehensive genetic counseling services

Our board-certified genetic counselors provide a full range of services, including:

  • Assessment of psychosocial status following a genetic diagnosis
  • Family history risk assessment and explanation of risk
  • Genetic testing and explanation of results
  • Implications of genetic disorders for you and your family
  • Referrals for specialized care
  • Resources to help patients understand a genetic diagnosis

Should I seek genetic counseling?

Although anyone concerned about the risk of developing cancer can benefit from genetic counseling, we especially encourage individuals who have:

  • A close relative who developed cancer at an early age
  • A relative who has had a rare or unusual cancer
  • A relative who has had more than one cancer
  • Several relatives with cancer

What happens during genetic counseling?

  • Detailed information will be gathered about who in your family has had cancer, what types and their ages of diagnosis. If you do not know your family history, it is still okay to have a genetic counseling appointment.
  • Assessment of the likelihood that a hereditary cancer syndrome may be responsible for the cancer in your family.
  • Discussion of your risk for developing cancer, options for high-risk screening and cancer prevention.
  • Genetic testing is your choice. We will review the benefits, limitations and risks of genetic testing and help you make the right decision about whether to pursue it. This includes a discussion about how testing is performed, which laboratories are used, costs and whether or not your health insurance plan will cover testing.
  • If testing is pursued, a simple tube of blood or saliva can be collected during the visit. The genetic counselor contacts you directly with your results. A follow-up appointment may be scheduled to discuss test results and how to manage related cancer risks.

Will insurance cover my visit?

The genetic counseling office visit is billed separately from any genetic tests that may be ordered. Pre-authorization is required in some cases and if so will be obtained by our financial department.

Insurance coverage for laboratory fees will be discussed with you at your visit. Most patients have lab fees that are $250 or less.

What if tests reveal I have a hereditary cancer predisposition?

  • If test results are positive, a visit with the genetic counselor and medical oncologist is recommended to discuss cancer risks and recommendations to reduce these risks and/or prevent cancer.
  • When a person tests positive for hereditary cancer, family members may also be at risk. The genetic counselor can assist with the coordination of genetic testing for family members.

Referral information

We encourage patients interested in genetic counseling to have their providers make a referral.