At Providence Genetic Risk Clinics, our genetic specialists help assess your individual cancer risk. While it is not possible to predict who will develop cancer, it is possible to learn more about your cancer risk factors and the strategies for managing risk. It is important to note that this may or may not include genetic testing.
Cancer risk information can be frightening. Our experts provide information that patients can use for cancer prevention and early detection including:
- Your personal cancer risk factors based on medical history and lifestyle factors
- How your family history of cancer influences risk
- Whether genetic testing is likely to benefit you
- Personalized set of cancer screening tests
- Strategies to reduce your cancer risk
During your visit, we will:
- Document your personal and family cancer history, and construct an illustrated medical family tree (also known as a pedigree)
- Address your specific questions and concerns
- Provide a personalized cancer risk assessment based on the information provided
- Review the risks, benefits and limitations of genetic testing options to determine if testing is right for you
For individuals who elect genetic testing, it can typically be ordered at the time of the initial consult visit. We will meet with you a few weeks later to discuss the results, and revise your risk assessment and recommendations.
Some people find it helpful to have a support person, such as a friend, spouse or relative, present at a genetics consult to provide an extra set of ears or emotional support. Others may want to bring a sibling or adult child who may be directly impacted by the information discussed.
Whom you choose to accompany you is an individual decision. We encourage you to keep in mind the content of the discussion – your personal medical and family history, and in some cases genetic test results. Please be aware that your support person will be present for this discussion.
- You will receive a detailed personal medical and family history questionnaire to complete before your visit. Keep in mind that it can take time to get appropriate details from family members; therefore, we recommend you start gathering information as soon as possible.
- If you have had cancer, we want to know details about the type of cancer. This can be obtained from pathology reports done at the time of biopsy or surgery. If your treatment was not performed at Providence, we may need your help to request these records.
- Whenever possible, collect medical records (e.g., pathology reports or genetic testing reports) for family members who have had cancer. While this is not mandatory for a genetics consult, it may be necessary to provide specific answers to your questions and the most accurate personal risk assessment. Details about family members who have had cancer may also be necessary to meet the criteria required by your insurance to cover genetic testing.
Health insurance typically covers a consultation appointment, which is independent of any genetic testing cost or authorizations. Most insurance companies also cover the cost of genetic testing for individuals considered at high risk of disease. If you are uninsured, other means of assistance may be available. Please ask us about options.