Many health conditions are hereditary. This means they are passed on from one generation to another through defective genes. But just because your mother had colon cancer or your dad had high cholesterol, it doesn't necessarily mean you will. That's because genetics are only one factor when it comes to your health. You may not have inherited the gene mutation present in your parent and genetics are only one factor when it comes to your health.
At The Christ Hospital, our board-certified genetic counselors can help you understand how your family's medical history could potentially affect you and your relatives. Their goal is to provide clear information in a confidential, emotionally supportive and educational way.
Who should have genetic counseling?
The Christ Hospital offers genetic counseling for people who have cancer and those who have a strong family history of cancer. In the future, we hope to offer it for people who want to understand their risk for other inherited conditions, such as early heart disease. We also may offer genetic counseling for people who want to learn about their risk of having a baby with a genetic disorder.
Your primary care doctor
or another healthcare professional can help you decide whether genetic counseling is right for you.
What to expect at a genetic counseling appointment
The genetic counselor will ask questions about your personal and family medical history to look for any risk factors. Then the counselor will talk about whether genetic testing could be helpful to you and your family, the limitations of genetic testing and what insurance typically covers.
Together, you can decide if testing is right for you. If you decide to have genetic testing, the counselor will talk to you about what's involved. You may be asked to provide a blood or saliva sample at the end of your appointment or return at a later time to do it.
What will the genetic test results tell me?
When the test results are available, the counselor will explain them to you and help you make informed healthcare choices based on those results.
Genetic testing is not always conclusive, and the results don't predict your future. Just because you have a certain genetic mutation doesn't necessarily mean you will get that disease. On the other hand, a negative result doesn't always guarantee that you won't develop a particular disease.
Genetic test results can be helpful to delay or prevent some conditions. For example, if test results say you are at higher risk for a certain type of cancer, your doctor or genetic counselor may talk to you about developing a plan for prevention and early detection.
What does genetic counseling cost?
Genetic counseling is available with or without a referral, and genetic counseling and/or genetic testing may be covered by insurance. Please contact your insurance carrier about your specific coverage.
For more information or to make an appointment
For more information about genetic counseling at The Christ Hospital or to schedule an appointment, call 513-585-3275.