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Genetic counseling

People who've been diagnosed with or have a family history of cancer may benefit from genetic counseling.

Genetic counseling: are you at risk for hereditary cancer?

Genetic counseling is offered to individuals and families who may be at risk of cancer or whose family history may be suspicious for a hereditary cancer condition. Although most cancers occur by chance, in some individuals cancer develops as the result of a genetic predisposition that runs in the family.

Carla Bell, Wesley’s oncology genetic counselor, helps patients identify if they are at an increased risk for cancer. She provides education and awareness of their cancer risk and offers risk reducing strategies that may aid in cancer prevention.

Bell has a master’s degree in genetic counseling and is a board- certified genetic counselor. She has over ten years of experience helping patients of all ages understand their genetic risk across a variety of medical specialties.

Genetic counseling may be helpful for individuals who have:

  • A personal or family history of cancer diagnosed at a young age
  • More than one family member diagnosed with the same type of cancer
  • More than one diagnosis of cancer (i.e. breast and ovarian or breast cancer in both breasts)
  • A family history of a known hereditary cancer condition or known genetic predisposition

What will happen during my genetic counseling appointment?

  • Discuss your medical and family history
  • Assess your individual cancer risk
  • Provide education on the genetic contribution to cancer
  • Discuss applicable hereditary cancer conditions
  • Make personalized cancer screening and management recommendations
  • Discuss the risks, benefits and limitations of genetic testing
  • Offer genetic testing, if appropriate

What are the benefits of genetic counseling and genetic testing?

  • Increased understanding of cancer risk and genetic contribution
  • Personalized cancer risk assessment and management
  • An explanation for their personal and/or family history of cancer
  • Information for making medical management decisions
  • Information for at-risk family members