Genetic counseling can help determine a person’s risk of developing various types of cancer. In people carrying a hereditary cancer syndrome gene, cancer risk can be passed down from parent to child. That means their children may have a significantly higher risk of developing cancer than other people.
The counselors and medical geneticists at the Wellstar Genetic Risk Assessment Program help people with cancer or people with a family history of cancer. Here, you’ll learn about genetic testing and the benefits it may have for you and your family. Using information learned from your genetic assessment, you can better understand the disease. With this information, you may choose to seek medical or surgical options to identify and treat cancer at the earliest possible stage, or in some cases, to prevent a diagnosis altogether.
Who is a candidate for genetic testing?
1. You have a family history of cancer
If you have a family history of cancer, genetic testing can help you learn if you have specific genetic mutations. People who are at risk for hereditary cancer may find it helpful to discuss options for screening, lifestyle changes or medical treatments.
2. You have cancer
For someone who already has a cancer diagnosis, genetic testing can help patients and their physicians make more informed decisions about treatment options.
If someone who already has cancer learns they have a genetic mutation that puts them at higher risk for certain cancers, it can also help family members decide if they could benefit from genetic testing. For example, a person’s children may want to screen themselves for cancer or take steps to lower their risk if they have a genetic mutation.
Hereditary cancer indicators
Possible indicators of hereditary cancer syndrome include:
- Unusually early age of cancer onset
- Multiple primary cancers in a single individual
- Cancer in paired organs (such as bilateral breast cancer)
- Multi-generational cancers
- Presence of rare tumors
- An unusual presentation, such as male breast cancer
- Belonging to an ethnic group known to be at high risk for hereditary cancers
- No environmental explanation for the presence of cancer
Continued Care for Hereditary Identified Risk Program (CCHIRP)
The field of hereditary cancer is rapidly evolving. As a result, options for cancer-related genetic testing and medical management guidelines change yearly as new research is published and peer reviewed. It is important for patients who were previously identified with a hereditary cancer syndrome to stay up-to-date so they can have the highest quality of care. However, we realize patients with hereditary cancer syndromes often have multiple appointments with various specialists – keeping track of everything on the medical to-do list can be challenging.
That’s why we created a new virtual clinic called CCHIRP, which stands for Continued Care for Hereditary Identified Risk Program. The goal of CCHIRP is to check in with patients once a year to review current management guidelines, identify any needed support services or resources and guide you to get the recommended care.
All of our patients with a positive genetic test result can count on us to reach out and schedule a yearly genetic counseling appointment – virtually or in-person. Documentation will be shared with the patient and your healthcare providers as appropriate to keep your care team on the same page to provide you with the highest level of care.
Visit the Wellstar Genetic Risk Assessment Program
page to learn more about the genetic counseling experience, what to expect at your appointment and whether genetic testing is covered by insurance.