Karmanos Cancer Institute
Genetic Counseling

Genetic Counseling
at Karmanos Cancer Institute

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 percent 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. 

We offer genetic counseling services in Detroit, Bay City, Clarkston, Farmington Hills, Flint, Lansing and Macomb.

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. 

For More Information

Genetic Newsletters

The Karmanos Genetic Counseling Department releases a quarterly newsletter as a means to communicate with our patients about key advances in the field of cancer genetics.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Genetic Counseling Team

genetics team
  • Michael Simon, MD, MPH
    Michael Simon, M.D., MPH
    Medical Director
    Michael Simon, M.D., MPH, is a professor (Clinician-Educator) in the Department of Oncology. He received his Bachelor of Science in biology as well as his medical degree from the University of Illinois. In addition, he holds a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Michigan. He has been at Wayne State University since 1989 and has held the rank of professor since 2004. In addition to his other clinical responsibilities, Dr. Simon is the Medical Director of the Cancer Genetic Counseling Service. He is also actively involved in oncology research as well as teaching and training residents and fellows.

    Learn more about Dr. Simon

  • Nanci Petrucelli, MS, CGC
    Nancie Petrucelli, MS, CGC
    Director and Senior Genetic Counselor
    Nancie Petrucelli has over 20 years of clinical genetics experience and currently serves as the Director and Senior Genetic Counselor of the Cancer Genetic Counseling Service at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. She received her Master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati and is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. She currently holds the rank of Adjunct Associate Professor of Oncology. Prior to her arrival at Karmanos, she began her genetic counseling career at the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Connecticut and then developed the Cancer Genetics Program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she is also actively involved in education and teaching as well as clinical research.
  • Courtney Attard, MS, CGC
    Courtney Kokenakes, MS, CGC
    Genetic Counselor
    Courtney Kokenakes is a genetic counselor with the Cancer Genetic Counseling Service at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute where she provides genetic counseling to individuals at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes. She received her Bachelor of Science in Genomics and Molecular Genetics from Michigan State University in 2010 and her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from Wayne State University in 2016. Kokenakes previously worked for the University of Michigan as a research technician and lab manager in a neurology laboratory that studied metabolism. She is excited to provide genetic counseling as part of the Karmanos team and looks forward to continued involvement in research, teaching, and outreach related to public health genomics.
  • Rachel Hagen, MS, CGC
    Rachel Reagle, MS, CGC
    Genetic Counselor
    Rachel Reagle is a genetic counselor with the Cancer Genetic Counseling Service at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. Rachel received her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Michigan-Flint in 2014. She graduated from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2016 with her Master Science in Genetic Counseling. She has always been very interested in cancer genetics, working as a volunteer and student intern in a cancer genetics setting while pursuing both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She is looking forward to providing genetic counseling to many different communities by traveling to satellite clinics throughout Michigan

Genetic Resources

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC)

Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Syndromes

  • Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)/Attenuated FAP
    • FAP Handbook (pdf) –From Johns Hopkins
    • FAP Fact Sheet from M.D. Anderson (pdf)
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome (PJS)
    • PJS Handbook (pdf) – From Johns Hopkins
    • PJS – From the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

    Hereditary Melanoma Syndromes

    • The Genetics of Melanoma – From Cancer.Net

    Rare Hereditary Cancer Syndromes

    • Von Hippel Lippau (VHL)
      • VHL Family Alliance
      • VHL Fact Sheet from M.D. Anderson (pdf)
  • Cowden Syndrome
    • Cowden Syndrome Fact Sheet from M.D. Anderson (pdf)
    • Cowden Syndrome Fact Sheet from UT Southwestern (pdf)
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia 1 (MEN1)
    • MEN1 – Information from the National Endocrine and Metabolic Disease Information Service
    • MEN1 Fact Sheet from M.D. Anderson
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia 2 (MEN2)
    • MEN2 Fact Sheet from M.D. Anderson
  • Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS)/ Li-Fraumeni Like (LFL)
    • LFS Fact Sheet from M.D. Anderson (pdf)

    General Cancer Resources

    • National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC)
    • Sharsheret – A national organization of cancer survivors dedicated to addressing the unique concerns of young Jewish women facing breast cancer
    • Colon Cancer Alliance
    • Colorectal Cancer Coalition

    Genetic Discrimination

    • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act 2008 (GINA)

    Support Resources

    • Karmanos Support Groups
    • FORCE Support Groups
  • Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)/Attenuated FAP
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome (PJS)
    • PJS Handbook (pdf) – From Johns Hopkins
    • PJS – From the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Hereditary Melanoma Syndromes

    Rare Hereditary Cancer Syndromes

    General Cancer Resources

    Genetic Discrimination

    Support Resources