A family history of cancer can increase your own risk for developing the disease. While most cancers occur by chance, it is estimated that about 5-10% of cancer cases run in families (hereditary).
The Cancer Genetic Counseling Service can help you learn about the impact your personal and family history has on your chance of developing cancer, as well as the risk to other family members. It can also help you understand your options for prevention, early detection, and treatment.
Should you consider genetic counseling?
The Cancer Genetic Counseling Service is helpful to anyone who has anxiety and/or concern about their risk of cancer. This service is useful if you have any of the following:
- Several relatives with cancer
- A personal or family history of a rare or unusual cancer, such as male breast cancer
- A relative with more than one type of cancer
- A personal or family history of cancer under the age of 50
What can you expect during an appointment?
- Complete evaluation of your family history by a genetic counselor and doctor who specialize in cancer genetics
- Risk assessment
- An estimation of your chance to develop specific cancers based on your family history and other risk factors
- An estimated chance that cancer might be passed along through the genes in your family
- Discussion of genetic testing options. If you pursue testing, results are shared with you during a return visit
- Information about ways to lower your risk of getting cancer and ways to find it early when it is most easily treated
What difference can cancer genetic counseling make?
An evaluation with the Cancer Genetic Counseling Service could save your life. The information gained during your appointments will help by informing you of your own cancer risk and ways to reduce this risk. It will also allow your doctor to develop a management program unique to you.
Finally, this information will help your family members who may be at an increased risk of developing certain cancers and might benefit from frequent cancer screening. Family members who may not be at an increased risk of developing cancer and may not need unnecessary cancer screening will also benefit from this services.
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