Should I Consider Genetic Counseling?
A family history of cancer does not mean you will develop cancer yourself.
If family history of cancer causes you concern about your own risk for inherited cancer, you may benefit from a genetic counseling appointment. Often there are fears associated with learning about the risk of cancer, but keep in mind inherited cancer is rare and a genetic counseling session can provide valuable information for screening and prevention, as well as give you the information you need to decide whether you should consider genetic testing.
Cancer is more likely to be inherited if:
- Two or more blood relatives have they same type of cancer. (Except cervical, lung or skin cancer.)
- Breast, colon, uterine, rectal cancer was diagnosed before age 50
- The cancer is ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer
- The cancer is a rare type, such breast cancer in a man
- The cancer develops in both breasts, both kidneys
- A single family member has developed more than one type of cancer; for example a woman with uterine and colon cancer (except cervical, lung or skin cancer).
If your family history falls into one or more of these categories, you may benefit from genetic counseling.
How genetic counseling can help you?
- You could share information with your relatives so they can prevent a cancer or arrange screening tests.
- You may learn your risk for cancer is less than you expected.
- Your doctor may want to check you for cancer earlier and more often.
- You may want to consider ways to reduce the chance of developing cancer.