Those diagnosed with cancer and those who do not have cancer but have a family history of cancer may benefit from genetic counseling. During a genetic counseling visit, the genetic counselor evaluates personal and family history to determine if an individual is at increased risk for cancer and the likelihood of an inherited cancer risk. They help individuals understand their cancer risks, pros and cons of genetic testing, family implications, and genetic information anti-discrimination laws. They discuss options for genetic testing, early cancer detection and cancer risk reduction. They communicate cancer risks, genetic test results, and guidelines for medical management with an individual's physicians and other care team members.
One in three people develop cancer at some point in their lives, so it's not unusual for someone in a family to have or have had cancer of some kind. A family history of cancer does not mean you will develop cancer yourself, as inherited cancers are rare. However, when there is a family history of cancer, our Metro Denver genetic counseling services can help determine if you are at a higher risk of hereditary cancer and if there are preventative and screening steps that should be implemented. Genetic counseling is the first step in this process and can help you determine if undergoing genetic testing would be helpful for your individual situation.
Cancer is more likely to be an inherited cancer and you may benefit from genetic counseling services, if:
- Two or more blood relatives have the same type of cancer. (Except cervical, lung or skin cancer.)
- Breast, colon, uterine, rectal cancer was diagnosed before age 50
- The cancer is ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer
- The cancer is a rare type, such breast cancer in a man
- The cancer develops in both breasts, both kidneys
- A single family member has developed more than one type of cancer; for example a woman with uterine and colon cancer (except cervical, lung or skin cancer).