Genetic Counselling

Genetic counseling in cancer, often referred to as oncogenetic counseling, is a specialized form of genetic counseling focused on individuals and families with a history of cancer or those at high risk of developing cancer due to inherited genetic factors. The primary goal of oncogenetic counseling is to assess the risk of hereditary cancer, provide information about genetic testing options, and offer support in making informed decisions about cancer prevention, screening, and management.

Key aspects of genetic counseling in cancer include:

  • Risk Assessment: The genetic counselor evaluates the individual’s personal and family medical history to assess their risk of hereditary cancer. They look for patterns of cancer occurrence in the family, the age of onset of cancers, and any specific types of cancer that may be associated with certain genetic mutations.
  • Genetic Testing: If there is a suspicion of hereditary cancer, the genetic counselor discusses the possibility of genetic testing. They explain the genes being tested and the implications of a positive or negative test result. Common genes tested for hereditary cancer risk include BRCA1, BRCA2 (associated with breast, ovarian, and other cancers), Lynch syndrome genes (associated with colorectal, uterine, and other cancers), and others.
  • Interpreting Test Results: Once genetic testing is performed, the genetic counselor helps interpret the results and explains what they mean for the individual’s cancer risk. If a genetic mutation is identified, they discuss the associated cancer risks and possible management options.
  • Cancer Prevention and Screening: Genetic counselors provide recommendations for cancer prevention and screening based on the test results and individual risk assessment. For individuals with a higher risk of cancer due to genetic mutations, they may suggest more frequent screenings or preventive interventions.
  • Family Communication: Genetic counselors assist individuals in communicating genetic information to family members who may also be at risk. This enables relatives to consider their own cancer risk and, if necessary, seek their own genetic counseling and testing.
  • Psychological Support: Cancer genetic counseling can be emotionally challenging, especially when discussing hereditary cancer risks and potential implications for the individual and their family. Genetic counselors offer emotional support and address any concerns or anxieties that may arise during the counseling process.
  • Clinical Trial Eligibility: In some cases, genetic testing results may make individuals eligible for participation in clinical trials exploring new cancer treatments and preventive strategies.

It’s important to note that not all cases of cancer are hereditary, and not all cancers are caused by genetic mutations. In many cases, cancer occurs sporadically due to a combination of environmental and lifestyle factors. Genetic counseling is essential in identifying those at higher risk of hereditary cancer and providing them with appropriate risk management strategies. If you have a personal or family history of cancer and are concerned about the possibility of hereditary cancer risk, seeking the expertise of a certified genetic counselor or oncogenetic counselor can help clarify your risk status and guide you in making informed decisions about your health and cancer prevention measures.

During your initial consultation, your genetic counselor will ask about your personal medical history and the results of any diagnostic tests you have undergone. Next, they will look at the history of diseases in your family. During the session, the counselor will draw your family tree and include at least three generations. It will have the following components:

  • Affected family members
  • What type of disease they had at the time of diagnosis\
  • The age at which the patient was diagnosed Your counselor will discuss your chances of inheriting inherited diseases based on your family history. To calculate your risk, they may use computerized tools to assess the level of risk. In addition, your genetic counselor will discuss the following genetic testing topics:
  • An overview of the pros and cons of genetic testing
  • Choosing the best genetic testing plan for your needs
  • An overview of gene information privacy laws

Genetic counselors can help determine your cancer risk based on your family’s medical history.
Furthermore, they describe which genetic tests can provide you with more knowledge about your risk levels.
You can use this information to decide whether to have genetic testing.

  • Early cancer detection and screening options
  • Risk reduction and cancer prevention
  • Options for diagnosis and treatment
  • Confidentiality of genetic information
  • What to discuss with family members after inheriting cancer risk?
If you choose to review the information later, your genetic counselor will provide you with written information after your appointment. Your genetic counselor helps you with:
  • Organize pre-testing details: Find out if your insurance covers all or part of the test costs.
  • Analyze test results with you: Your counselor will be able to explain your test results to you once you have completed them.
  • Discuss the next steps after testing: The counselor may recommend further genetic testing or specific cancer screening tests.
You and your family will continue to benefit from your genetic counselor in the long term. In case of questions about your cancer risk, speak to your counselor anytime. Get the information and start the treatment soon. To avail of services, connect with us today!!