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What Happens When I Meet With a Genetics Expert?
When you meet with a genetics expert, your personal and family cancer history will be reviewed, including type(s) of cancer and age(s) at diagnosis. Based on this information a genetics professional will:
• Evaluate your chance of an inherited cancer risk
• Discuss available genetic testing options to evaluate your risk of cancer
• Discuss the benefits and considerations of testing, including insurance coverage and confidentiality
• Help decide if genetic testing is right for you
• Explain the process for ordering genetic testing
• Talk to you about possible medical management options based on your family history and/or genetic test results
• Discuss the emotional impact of the information on you and your family
• This visit may be referred to as a "genetic counseling session"
How Can Genetic Counseling (and Testing) Help Me and/or My Family Members?
• Knowing if there is inherited cancer risk in your family may offer options for:
– Cancer prevention
– Early detection
– Personalized cancer treatment
• May help you to learn about the chances that you or your family members might develop certain types of cancer
• Understand the types of cancer that can be related to an inherited cancer risk factor (e.g., breast, colon, ovarian, uterine, among others)
• A cancer genetics professional can be an important part of your healthcare team
What Does Genetic Testing For Inherited Cancer Involve?
• Blood draw or saliva sample collection
• Results are usually available in a few weeks
• The cost and insurance coverage varies by the test being ordered
“Through genetic counseling, I learned what my options for managing my cancer risks were. My genetic counselor went through the pros and cons of the choices I had available to me, in order that I could make the right decision for me.”
Benita Hayes, carrier of a BRCA mutation, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37. Her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer
at age 35.