Medical Plaza South
What is it and what you should know
People with cancer often wonder what caused their disease. Relatives of those with cancer are often concerned that they may also be at an increased risk for getting cancer. Hereditary cancers occur due to an inherited change (mutation) in certain genes that normally protects the body from developing cancer.
Cancer genetics is the study of hereditary and familial cancer. Though most cancers occur by chance, cancer develops in some individuals as the result of a genetic predisposition that runs in their family.
There are many known genes that may predispose individuals to inherited forms of cancer. By identifying inherited cancer syndromes and at-risk individuals, their health care providers can implement targeted individualized lifestyle modifications, screening recommendations, and preventative treatment options to improve outcomes.
We offer genetic services at Regional West, including individualized cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, and testing for patients and their families.
What is genetic counseling?
Genetic counseling is performed by a genetic counselor who is specifically trained in genetics and counseling and helps identify individuals who are at risk for having a gene mutation that may lead to a cancer diagnosis. This process integrates family and medical history interpretation with education about inheritance, testing, management, prevention, resources, and research. The genetic counselor appointment is done via phone call.
What is genetic testing?
Genetic tests are laboratory tests performed on blood or saliva to detect genetic disorders.
By identifying inherited cancer risk through genetic testing, patients and the health care providers can create a plan of care that considers and addresses their risk factors.
Various offsite laboratories are used for the testing.
Risk for an inherited mutation or hereditary cancer:
- Blood relative who has tested positive for a mutation
Or if you or any family member has had:
- Pancreatic, ovarian, or male breast cancer at any age
- Breast, colorectal, or endometrial cancer at age 50 or younger
- Two separate cancer diagnoses
- Triple-negative breast cancer
- Prostate cancer at age 55 or younger or metastatic prostate cancer
- Eastern European Jewish ancestry and breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer at any age
Or more than one family member on the same side of the family with any of the following cancers:
What happens during genetic counseling for cancer risk?
- Medical history will be reviewed
- Family history will be reviewed
- Inherited cancer risk will be identified
- Genetic information of cancer predisposition will be shared
- Options for cancer screening and risk reduction will be discussed
- Recommendation for genetic testing will be done, if applicable
- Financial information
Genetic counselor services are an out-of-pocket expense for the individual, but the genetic testing is generally covered by the individual’s insurance. Additionally, all individuals are eligible for patient assistant programs courtesy of the laboratory used for testing.
To learn more information about Regional West’s genetic services, contact the Cancer Treatment Center at 308-630-1348.