Medical Plaza South
How would carrying a gene mutation change my treatment and management?
Some women who test positive for certain genetic mutations decide to have a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy in order to prevent a new, second breast cancer from occurring in the future. Additionally, women with mutations in cancer predisposition genes are sometimes at an increased risk for other types of cancer and may be candidates for additional surgeries and/or screening. Finally, if you are positive for certain genetic mutations, your oncologist may make different recommendations regarding chemotherapy and medications.
What would this mean for my family members?
Mutations in genes associated with cancer predisposition syndromes are passed through families. Most of the time, if you are positive for a genetic mutation, your first-degree family members (mother, father, sisters, brothers, and/or children) have a 50 percent chance of also carrying this mutation.
If you are found to be positive for a mutation, a genetic counselor can help you inform your family members about their risk of developing certain cancers. In those that test positive but do not have cancer, preventative action can be taken to reduce their risk of developing cancer, in some cases by as much as 90 percent. These actions include more aggressive screening beginning at younger ages, preventative surgeries, and chemoprevention (taking drugs known to reduce the risk of developing cancer).
Does insurance cover the cost of genetic counseling and genetic testing?
Genetic counseling visits are usually considered a specialist visit and are covered by insurance. When a genetic counselor or other medical professional recommends genetic testing, especially in people who have had cancer, insurance covers it in most cases.
A genetic counselor and the laboratory conducting the testing can help you determine if genetic testing is covered by your specific insurance plan and what the out-of-pocket cost would be to you.
If you do not have insurance, or cannot pay for the genetic counseling and/or genetic testing, there are programs available to help. Each patient will be considered on an individual basis. Please contact the genetic counselor at 308-630-1740 to discuss your individual options.
If I test positive for a genetic predisposition syndrome, could this affect the insurability of my children and/or other relatives?
Genetic information cannot be accessed by anyone, other than you and people you authorize to view this information. Furthermore, the Genetic Information and Discrimination Act of 2008 (also known as “GINA”), is a federal law that prohibits insurance companies and employers from discriminating against someone because of his or her genetic information.
Where will the genetic counseling session take place?
Genetic counseling appointments take place at Regional West’s Breast Health Center. The services are provided remotely through our Telehealth network in the Breast Health Center. During the counseling session, you will be comfortably seated in a private room and connected via a secure Telehealth connection to the genetic counselor, who is located in Denver at Invision Sally Jobe Breast Centers. Services are available in both English and Spanish.
If the need for genetic testing is indicated, when and how will that take place?
If genetic counseling session indicated that testing is appropriate, trained technologists in the Breast Health Center will collect a sample, through an order from the genetic counselor and sponsoring RIA radiologist. The specimen will be, most often, a cheek cell sample obtained via a mouthwash kit but a blood sample may also be used. The DNA sample will be obtained after the counseling session and before you leave the Breast Health Center, so no follow-up visit is necessary.
The Breast Health Center technologists will then send the specimen to an outside laboratory for processing.
How long does it take to get the results back?
Genetic test results are typically available approximately two to three weeks after the test is ordered. The results will be sent directly to the genetic counselor, who will then call and go over the results with you on the phone. In addition, you and your physician will both receive a detailed written report.
How do I schedule an appointment?
To schedule an appointment with our genetic counselor, contact us at 308-630-1740.