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Genetic Counseling and Testing Services

Moffitt’s Genetic Risk Assessment Service offers screening genetic counseling and testing for people who may be at an increased risk for cancer. By identifying high risk families we can help them understand their risk for developing cancer as well as their options for risk reduction, early detection, and treatment.

What does an inherited risk mean?
An inherited risk does not mean you have received a diagnosis of cancer. It simply means that you were born with alterations to your DNA, which increases your chance of developing certain cancers.

Learn more about inherited cancer risk.

What is genetic testing? And why is it important?
Genetic testing for hereditary cancer involves examining a person’s DNA to be examined for possible mutations or changes. Before considering genetic testing, however, the first step is to meet with a genetic counselor to discuss your personal and family history and determine the likelihood of inherited genetic mutation. This is important because cancer risk is increased not by just one mutated gene, but rather by the pattern of cancers in your family that suggest which genes are more likely to be mutated.

What happens if I see a genetics counselor?
The genetics counselor will review your personal and family cancer history, including the type(s) of cancer and age(s) of diagnosis. The genetics counselor will discuss the risks, benefits and limitation of testing, the emotional implications, and the benefits and limitations of testing, including insurance coverage and confidentiality. The discussion will help you decide if genetic testing is right for you.

How might I use the results of genetic counseling and testing?
The information provided may help to estimate a person’s risks for developing certain types of cancer, and to create an individual plan for screening and management based on those risks. This information may also be very useful for other family members.

Is genetic counseling the same thing as genetic testing?
No. Genetic counseling is a form of education and risk assessment. Individuals having genetic counseling learn about their specific risk factors based on reported information. Having genetic counseling does not mean that a person has to proceed with genetic testing. Many individuals who have genetic counseling do not have genetic testing. Genetic testing in a cancer setting involves specific analysis of blood to look for a constitutional gene change that is linked with an increased risk to develop cancer.

Who are genetic counselors?
Genetic Counselors are health care professionals with specialized graduate degrees and training in medical genetics and counseling. Genetic counselors work as part of a medical team consisting of medical geneticists (physicians specializing in genetics), nurses, oncologists, social workers, and others.

I want genetic testing. Do I need to have the genetic counseling?
Yes. Genetic counseling by an experienced health care professional (ideally a certified or credentialed genetics professional) is an essential part of the genetic testing process and is critical for accurate result interpretation and management. During the genetic consultation, the risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing are discussed. The consultation also includes a discussion of medical management options for an individual and his/her family as well as information regarding issues such as the importance of confidentiality.

How do I make an appointment?
To make a genetic counseling appointment at Moffitt Cancer Center, please call 813-745-3980.

For more information about hereditary cancer predisposition, visit the links below:

  • National Cancer Institute PDQ® Cancer Information Summaries: Genetic 
    PDQ® is an online database developed and maintained by the National Cancer Institute which is designed to make the most current, credible, and accurate information available to health professionals and the public.
  • National Society of Genetic Counselors
    The mission of the National Society of Genetic Counselors is to advance the various roles of genetic counselors in health care by fostering education, research, and public policy to ensure the availability of quality genetic services. To locate genetic counseling services close to you, visit
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