Genetic Counseling for Hereditary Cancers

When environmental, hereditary and lifestyle factors interact, they can cause genetic changes that result in disease.

With hereditary cancers, a person carries a mutated gene that passes from generation to generation. The mutated gene increases a person's risk for cancer. Families with such gene mutations may have many members with specific cancers. Knowing your family history is the first step toward understanding your risk.

The second step is genetic counseling, which can help you weigh the benefits and risks of getting tested. Our research nurse specialist and genetic liaison works closely with genetics specialists to help you understand if the cancer in your family is hereditary and what you can do about it.

Knowing you carry a gene that causes hereditary cancer can help you take steps to lower your risk for cancer and/or detect it earlier, when it's more treatable.

Your Risk Factors

If your family has any of the following characteristics, we recommend exploring genetic testing.

  • Several adult family members developed cancer before age 50.
  • Two or more close relatives such as a mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparents or children were diagnosed with the same or related cancers. For example, breast and ovarian cancer, colon and endometrial cancer, or melanoma and pancreatic cancer.
  • A family member has had more than one cancer diagnosis.
  • Family members have been diagnosed with rare cancers or cancer syndromes such as multiple endocrine neoplasia or Lynch syndrome.

Genetic Testing Help

We can help with:

  • Creating an overview of your personal and family health history (View the Family History Questionnaire.)
  • Determining if you and/or your family meet testing criteria
  • Connecting you with a genetic counselor

Contact Us

For more information about genetic counseling and the testing process, call our genetic liaison at 816.691.5195.