During the first genetic counseling visit, we collect a personal and family medical history. If a family member has cancer, we ask about the primary diagnosis, the age of onset, and how the cancer was treated. Additional medical records may need to be obtained. The average visit lasts one hour.
We use this information to create a personalized risk assessment for developing certain cancers, and for hereditary cancer syndromes. If the risk assessment indicates a possible hereditary cancer syndrome, we review options for genetic testing. The risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing are discussed. Testing may be performed at the first visit.
Individuals who have chosen to have genetic testing return to discuss their test results in person (most results are available in approximately three to four weeks). This follow-up appointment includes interpretation of test results, a discussion of how this information affects medical management, and the impact on extended family members.