Using personal and family history to assess risk.
Cancer genetic counseling is the process of collecting your detailed personal and family history, assessing your personal risk, and discussing your genetic testing options. Genetic tests are tests on blood and other tissue used to identify genetic disorders.
Genetic counseling and testing services are offered to individuals and families as part of our comprehensive model of patient-centered care in collaboration with the Yale Cancer Center Genetic Counseling Program. Services are provided by a team of graduate-trained counselors who are certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
The Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital offers genetic counseling and testing services to anyone with an increased risk of developing hereditary forms of cancer, including breast and ovarian (BRCA), colorectal (HNPCC, FAP), and others (Li-Fraumeni, Cowden, etc.). These services can help you identify if you are at increased risk genetically of developing cancer, enabling you and your physician to make important informed medical decisions about screening and prevention to reduce your risk.
The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness has launched a high-risk breast cancer program that includes the state-of-the-art BREVAGen™predictive risk test. BREVAGen assesses a woman's unique risk of developing non-familial or sporadic breast cancer with a simple, in-office oral swab test.
BREVAGen uses Clinical Risk and Genetic Markers to assess individual risk of developing sporadic breast cancer. Once the risk level is known, the doctor will help develop a plan for monitoring the patient's breast health and recommend life changes that may minimize the chances of developing breast cancer.
When to Consider Genetic Testing
Individuals who have a personal and/or family history that includes any of the following may benefit from cancer genetic counseling:
- Multiple relatives on the same side of the family with the same cancer or related cancers e.g. breast/ovarian/pancreatic/melanoma; colon/uterine/ovarian
- Cancer at unusually early ages e.g. breast cancer younger than 45 years old or colon cancer younger than age 50
- More than one diagnosis of cancer in the same individual e.g. breast and ovarian cancer, or colon and uterine cancer in one person
- Rare cancers e.g. male breast cancer, medullary thyroid cancer
- A family history of a known altered cancer-predisposing gene
Consider genetic counseling if you have a personal and/or family history of:
Breast or Ovarian Cancer
- Breast cancer diagnosed before age 45
- Multiple cases of breast cancer on the same side of the family
- Ovarian cancer in a family with breast cancer
- Male breast cancer
- Multiple cases of pancreatic cancer on the same side of the family
- The combination of breast, ovarian, and/or pancreatic cancer on the same side of the family or in a single individual
- Jewish ancestry in combination with any of the above
- Jewish ancestry and even one case of breast or ovarian cancer (even in the absence of additional family history)
- Medullary breast cancer and triple negative breast cancer are over-represented in women with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer
- Colon cancer diagnosed before age 50
- Multiple cases of colon cancer on the same side of the family
- The combination of colon, uterine, ovarian, urinary tract, and/or other gastrointestinal cancers on the same side of the family
- A single individual with colon and uterine cancer, more than one separate colon cancer diagnosis, or colon and ovarian cancer
- Even one sebaceous carcinoma
- A colon cancer in which screening tests (called microsatellite instability (MSI) and/or immunohistochemistry (IHC)) have indicated an increased risk for hereditary colon cancer
- Multiple colon polyps (adenomatous, hamartomatous, or juvenile)
Our program does not require a referral, but your insurer may.
Many insurance companies cover part, if not all, of the counseling and testing charges associated these services. Please check with your health insurance provider for specific information about your coverage.