Genetic counseling for cancer patients

The genes in our cells affect traits passed on from parent to child, like hair and eye color. Genes also tell our cells how to function properly. Cancer occurs when cells begin to act abnormally. Abnormal cell activity may be the result of damage to the body or something passed down in the genes in your family.

Signs that cancer may have a genetic cause include:

  • Cancer diagnosed at a younger than normal age

  • Several types of cancers in the same person

  • Cancer that develops in both paired organs, such as both breasts or kidneys

  • Several blood relatives who have the same type of cancer

  • Unusual cases of a specific type of cancer, such as breast cancer in a man

  • Birth defects linked to certain inherited cancers

  • Being part of a racial group with a high risk of certain cancers

Genetic counseling at The Christ Hospital Health Network

The genetic specialists at The Christ Hospital Health Network give you information about genetics and inherited conditions, including which cancers may be genetic. Our goal is to provide clear information in an emotionally supportive and educational way.

If you decide genetic testing is right for you, your genetic counselor will create a comprehensive plan to help you with risk assessment and testing. If needed, your plan may also include:

  • Observation

  • Screening

  • Surgical decision-making

  • Follow-up care

Your counselor and physician can help you make decisions that are right for you based on your test results. 

Possible benefits of genetic testing

If you find out that you and your family do carry a gene mutation, you may be able to lower your risk of cancer or prevent it by:

  • Undergoing surgery

  • Changing your lifestyle

  • Having regular cancer screenings

If you already have cancer, testing may help guide more targeted treatment.

Learn more about genetic counseling at The Christ Hospital Health Network

For more information about genetic testing and counseling, call The Christ Hospital Cancer Center at 513-585-2323.