Knowing your cancer risk may help you or a family member take steps to reduce the risk and potentially prevent cancer. Genetic education and counseling gives information to help you decide whether a screening, such as a blood test, might be helpful for you and your family.
Peggy Eldredge, advanced practice oncology nurse, brings years of experience and training to the field of genetic counseling. Certified genetic counselors from Myriad Genetic Laboratories complete the team.
To speak with Peggy, call 816-691-5197.
Triggers for Cancer
There is no single cause of cancer. Cancer is typically a result of multiple factors. Environmental, heredity and lifestyle factors interact which cause genetic changes resulting in disease. Most cancer is not inherited, but cancer does develop in some families. In some cases, family members pass a mutation down to other family members that increases the risk for cancer. Some of these mutations can now be identified by special blood tests.
Genetic education and counseling gives information to help you decide whether a screening, like a blood test, might be helpful for you and your family. Knowing your cancer risk may help you or a family member take steps to reduce the risk and potentially prevent cancer.
Are You at Risk?
Although it's impossible to tell (without testing) who is positive for a cancer gene, there are some characteristics that may indicate a need for further investigation.
- Adults who develop cancer before age 50
- Two or more close relatives such as a mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparents or children with the same type or related cancers (breast and ovarian, colon and endometrial, or melanoma and pancreatic)
- More than one cancer diagnosis in the same relative
- Very rare cancers or cancer syndromes such as multiple endocrine neoplasia or ataxia telangiectasia as examples
Resources to Help
To see if you and your family are at increased risk for cancer, the "Now What!?" Cancer Survivorship Center offers these services:
- Overview of personal and family health history. View the Family History Questionnaire
- Develop a family tree
- Determine if individual/family meet criteria for testing
- Communicate pre-test education/counseling
- Evaluate insurance to confirm coverage (most insurance now covers all or part of genetic counseling and testing, but sometimes a referral is required)
- Provide post-test education/counseling with an individualized cancer prevention, risk reduction and screening plan for you and your family