Cancer Genetic Testing & Counseling
If you’ve wondered about your risk for cancer or about your children’s risk for cancer, talk to a board-certified genetic counselor at Avera Cancer Institute to find answers to your questions. During the visit you’ll receive the information you need to make future healthcare decisions about cancer screening and genetic testing.
Genetic Counseling for Cancer
Through a genetic test, you and your providers may gain insight to determine how to better prevent cancer or catch it in its earliest stages. It can also provide additional information about whether you and your family members need to proactively prevent and screen for cancer, for example, through more frequent or more extensive screenings.
Common examples include mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes which cause a higher risk for breast and ovarian cancers, and gene mutations for Lynch syndrome, which predisposes people to colon and endometrial cancers.
When to Consider Cancer Genetic Counseling
Your provider may suggest talking to a genetic counselor if your personal or family history includes any of the following:
- Multiple family members with the same type of cancer or related cancers, such as breast/ovarian/pancreatic or colon/uterine/ovarian
- Cancer that occurs at an early age (under 50 years old)
- Rare cancers, such as male breast cancer, medullary thyroid cancer or ovarian cancer
- More than one cancer in the same family member
- Family history of a known gene mutation, including BRCA1 and MLH1
- Multiple colon polyps
- Jewish ancestry and family history of breast or ovarian cancer (certain ethnicities have higher frequencies of certain genetic disorders)
For more information about genetics in medicine, check out Genetics 101.
How You Benefit from Genetic Counseling
When you visit with an Avera professional for cancer genetic testing and counseling, you’ll be equipped to:
- Make the healthiest choices for your household
- Decide how to best meet your health care needs
- Make informed decisions about testing options
- Better understand tests and test results
- Feel greater comfort with your plan of action
Learn more about when to seek genetic services for cancer in our health library.