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Genetic Counseling

While we all face some risk for cancer, patients with a family history of cancer may have genes that put them at greater risk. However, genetic testing is a technology that can provide not only peace of mind but also suggest strategies for prevention and early detection. In the case that cancer is already diagnosed or arises later, genetic testing can lead to more effective treatment.

Who May Benefit from Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling is generally recommended for patients who, before the age of 50, were diagnosed with breast, colon or uterine cancer. It is also recommended for patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer at any age, or those who simply have a family history of cancer.

How Genetic Counseling Works

Our Licensed Genetic Counselors guide patients and their families in understanding their level of risk in addition to prevention, disease management, and treatment options.

Our Genetic Counselors will:

  • Review individual and family medical history and explain associated risk
  • Advise on management of hereditary cancer risk, including referrals for further testing and/or more frequent preventive screenings when necessary
  • Collaborate with each patient’s primary referring provider on diagnosis and treatment recommendations to ensure coordinated care among established health care teams
  • Serve as patient advocates, sharing community and educational resources for patients and their families

Should an integrated treatment plan be necessary in the case of a cancer diagnosis, our genetic counselors are active participants of a multidisciplinary team, collaborating with oncologists, nurse navigators, diagnostic specialists, and case managers to ensure the best planning and care for each patient.

Telegenetics: A Solution for Greater Accessibility

For patients who either live in a relatively remote location, or have mobility issues due to their condition, telegenetics is a new technique that allows genetic testing and counseling to be carried out at a distance. Initial consultations can be conducted by phone or by secure video conferencing. The patient’s blood samples are then taken at the nearest facility and sent out to be analyzed. Follow-up consultations can be performed, again remotely, to discuss the results of the analysis and how they might affect future actions or treatment.

For more information about the Dignity Health Cancer Institute’s Genetic Counseling Program, please call 916.962.8967.