Medical Genetics and Genomics

Cancer Genetic Counseling Program

While most cancers occur by chance, in some individuals cancer develops because of inherited genetic predisposition. The Cancer Genetic Counseling Program in Mount Sinai's Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences works to help families understand their personal and/or family history of cancer. We evaluate the probability of hereditary cancer susceptibility in your family, and coordinate genetic testing for individuals who choose this option. The Cancer Genetic Counseling Program is staffed with expert genetic counselors and medical geneticists from the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences.

Genetic Counseling

Anyone with questions about their potential risk of developing cancer may benefit from genetic counseling.

Genetic counseling is helpful for individuals with more than one family member with the same or related types of cancer (e.g. breast and ovarian cancer or colon and uterine cancer), personal and/or family history of early-onset cancer, personal and/or family history of rare cancers (e.g. male breast cancer or fallopian tube cancer), personal and/or family history of more than one cancer in the same individual and a close relative found to have a mutation in a cancer gene.

If you need a better understanding of the genetic tests results you have already received from a separate health organization, you are welcomed to receive genetic counseling at Mount Sinai.

What is involved in the genetic counseling process?

The genetic counseling process consists of two office visits: an initial one to two hour consultation and a follow-up visit for those who undergo genetic testing.

Our genetic counselors will review your medical history, family history and draw a family tree. They will tell you the chances that the cancer in your family is hereditary and who in your family may have an increased risk for cancer. The genetic counselor will also review information about the genetics of cancer predisposition, the pros and cons of genetic testing and options for cancer screening and risk reduction.  Our genetic counselors will arrange genetic testing for those who choose to pursue it and provide information about ongoing research studies.

Genetic testing is not a required part of the genetic counseling process and may not be appropriate for everyone. You can still learn valuable information about cancer risk management from a genetic counseling visit without pursuing genetic testing.  

Will my insurance cover genetic counseling and testing?

Genetic counseling and genetic testing are separate charges. We work with most major insurances for the initial consultation. We will also work to find a lab that accepts your insurance.