While we all face some risk for cancer, some patients with a personal or family history of cancer may have gene mutation 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 possibly lead to more effective treatment.
Who May Benefit from Genetic Counseling?
If you have a personal history or family history of any of the following features, you are a good candidate for genetic counseling:
- Breast, colorectal, or uterine cancer diagnosed under age 50
- Ovarian cancer, male breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, or metastatic prostate cancer at any age
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with a personal or family history of cancer
- Several close relatives with the same type of cancer on the same side of the family
- Families with a combination of the following cancers: Colon, rectal, stomach, endometrial, uterine, kidney, ureter, pancreas, or small intestine
- Ten or more colon polyps
- Rare tumor types (e.g. sarcomas, medullary thyroid cancer, etc.)
How Genetic Counseling Works Our team
of licensed and certified genetic counselors provide patients and their families a better understanding of their risk to develop cancer and also discuss screening and prevention.
Our genetic counselors will:
- Review personal and family medical history and explain associated cancer risk
- Advise on management of hereditary cancer risk, including referrals for further testing and/or more frequent 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 a specific 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
Our clinic operates via telegenetics, which means that both initial and follow up appointments can be performed by telephone or secure video conferencing. The telegenetics model allows our clinic to accommodate more patients and reach patients from remote locations who otherwise may not have genetic counseling or testing available to them. Testing can be performed through a saliva or blood sample which can be collected in the comfort of your own home using mobile blood draw service or by mailing a saliva kit.
For more information about the Dignity Health's Cancer Genetics Program, please call (916) 556-3169.