What is Genetic counseling?
Genetic counseling helps patients or their relatives who are at high risk for disease learn about their condition. It helps patients make informed decisions about testing and their treatment options and determine if children or other family members might be affected by the same genetic condition.
Genetic counseling is done prior to genetic testing to determine if the testing is actually needed and to make sure the patient understands all the components of testing which includes:
- Developing a detailed family history
- Discussing risks, benefits, and limitations of testing
- Educating the patient on basic cancer genetics and what cancer risk means
- Explaining what to expect during testing
- Discussing implications of test results for the rest of the family
- Providing an opportunity for patients to ask questions
In the oncology setting, genetic counselors assess and counsel people about their chance of having an inherited susceptibility to cancer.
Individuals are considered to be candidates for cancer risk assessment if they have a personal and/or family history (maternal or paternal lineage) with features suggestive of hereditary cancer(s).
What is a genetic counselor?
Genetic counselors are medical professionals with specialized training in medical genetics at the graduate level, specifically a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling and national board certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. They are skilled in understanding and explaining how genetics plays a role in health and disease, including cancer. Genetic counselors work as part of the medical professional team to help provide comprehensive cancer care related to hereditary cancers and risk assessment. Genetics is about families and preventative care, and we are here to support you!
What is discussed at a genetic counseling appointment?
A genetic counseling consultation at CCI includes meeting with our nationally board certified genetic counselor and a physician. The consultation with the genetic counselor and physician typically takes 45-60 minutes, depending on the complexity of the family history and patient questions.
The visit is billed as a specialist physician visit and subject to standard co-pay. The cost of genetic testing is reviewed in detail at the genetic counseling consultation. Our genetic counselor works very hard to obtain the appropriate genetic testing at little to no out-of-pocket cost when testing is medically indicated. Genetic testing does not move forward without patient consent.