Genetics and Hereditary Counseling and Testing
Even if you have certain risk factors, it is impossible to predict if you will develop gynecologic cancer. However, if you have family members—on your mother’s or father’s side—who had certain cancers or developed cancer at young age, you may carry similar genetic makeup. To help determine your personal and family predisposition for cancer, your doctor may suggest genetic testing. The purpose of genetic testing combined with genetic counseling is to provide insights that may open doors to early screening and treatment for the best possible outcome.
Our expert genetic counselors and medical geneticists can answer your questions and help guide your decision-making process in consultation with your doctor. For your convenience, in addition to geneticists, your team of advisors may include nutritionists, nurse practitioners, and social workers.
Before you decide to have genetic testing, you will meet with a genetic counselor who will review your personal medical history and your family’s medical history.
Based on that information, a family tree will illustrate who in your family may have an increased risk for cancer. You can discuss with your counselor the benefits of genetic testing for you or other members of your family. You will also get information about possible screenings that will be helpful as well as ongoing research studies that may be of interest.
Following genetic counseling, if you decide to have genetic testing, we will send a blood sample to a laboratory for analysis. Our analysis of the results uses the latest knowledge about the connections between genes and cancer. We check for multiple genetic mutations including BRCA1 and BRCA2, Lynch syndrome, and many others.
If results show a genetic mutation in a cancer gene, you have important choices to consider with your medical team. We will help you make the best choices for you. You may want to take steps to prevent developing cancer, such as medication or a surgical procedure.
We are continuing to learn about how some genetic mutations are more responsive to certain types of treatment. This information helps your gynecologic oncologist create the best possible treatment plan for you.