Assess Your Risk

What Is A Cancer Risk Assessment?

A cancer risk assessment is a meeting with a genetic counselor and/or medical geneticist that involves:

  • A thorough evaluation of one’s personal and family history of cancer
  • An assessment of the likelihood to the hereditary cause of cancer in the family
  • A discussion of the risks and benefits of genetic testing
  • An explanation of the options for managing an increased risk of cancer

This process is also known as genetic counseling.

What Is A Genetic Counselor?

They are specially trained health care professionals who provide information and support to families affected by or at risk for genetic disorders. They identify families at risk, investigate the problem present in the family, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence, and discuss available options with the family. They are available for support and questions.

What Is A Medical Geneticist?

A medical geneticist provides similar information and resources, but has expertise as a physician and may also help treat genetic disorders. They are able to provide information from a medical standpoint and provide medical care to an individual or family.

What Is Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing is used to identify patients who have genetic mutations that may significantly increase their risk of developing a disease (e.g., cancer) and may benefit from increased cancer surveillance and/or other preventive measures, such as prophylactic surgery. Genetic counseling is recommended both before and after testing. A genetic counselor or medical geneticist can discuss the benefits and risks of genetic testing, as well as the implications of positive and negative results and any factors that may influence your decision about whether you want to proceed with testing. This testing may pertain to family planning or personal health, and may test for either recessive carrier disorders or hereditary types of cancer.

Genetic testing for hereditary cancers is more involved than the average blood test because it invokes issues of:

  • Test-related anxiety — what will you do with the information?
  • Privacy and confidentiality — who has access to the information?
  • Genetic discrimination — what are the myths and realities?
  • Psychological effects within families — how will your genetic test results affect your family members and how do they feel about you being tested?

Genetic counseling is recommended both before and after testing.

If you would like to ask a genetic counselor about risk assessment and testing, please contact us.

 

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Do You Know What's In Your Genes?

What is the most valuable gift you can give to your family? The gift of good health! There are many health conditions that run in families. Knowing your family health history can alert you to the potential risk for a variety of genetic disorders . Be sure to check with your relatives for warning signs and assess your risk for hereditary cancers!

Did you know: Ashkenazi Jews are 10 TIMES more likely to have BRCA mutations, which significantly increases lifetime risks for hereditary cancers, so what does this heightened risk mean for you? Click here to learn more !