Genetic counseling

Genetics can be a complex topic. Before and after genetic testing at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), you may choose to have a counseling session to help you navigate the science of genetics and what the test results may mean for you and your family. A person may consider genetic counseling if he or she:

  • Receives a cancer diagnosis at or before age 50
  • Is diagnosed with ovarian, fallopian or primary peritoneal cancer
  • Has multiple close family members with the same type of cancer or related cancers
  • Is diagnosed with two or more primary cancers
  • Is diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer at age 60 or younger

Participating in an introductory counseling session does not obligate you to have genetic testing. If you wish to pursue genetic counseling and testing once you leave the hospital, we offer telegenetics in most areas or are happy to see you at your next visit to our center.

Benefits and risks of genetic testing

Genetic testing poses psychological benefits and risks. A negative result can bring a sense of relief and reduce some of your worry and anxiety. It may also eliminate the need for more frequent checkups and tests that are routine in individuals with a high risk of cancer.

Cancer genetic counseling is a service provided by health care professionals with expertise in medical genetics and counseling. During a counseling session, genetic counselors will:

  • Evaluate your personal and family cancer histories
  • Assess your inherited cancer risk
  • Simplify the concepts of genetics and hereditary cancer risks
  • Offer support to individuals and families at risk for cancer
  • Empower you to make informed choices
  • Address your questions and concerns

It’s important to remember that testing positive for a gene mutation does not necessarily meant that you will develop cancer. Some people with these results never get cancer.

Learn more about genetic testing

Supportive resources

Your entire care team is available to address genetic testing. For instance, the mind-body therapy and pastoral care teams may help you cope psychologically with the results of genetic testing.

Learn more about integrative care