Cancer Genetic Counseling

What is Cancer Genetic Counseling?


If you have a personal or family history that suggests a BRCA gene mutation, Genetic Counseling by a qualified trained professional is recommended.

A genetic counselor will carefully assess your family history and discuss the following:

  • The chances of a BRCA or other hereditary cancer gene mutation in your family
  • Your personal cancer risks
  • If genetic testing is right for you or a family member
  • The benefits and limitations of genetic testing
  • What the results mean for you and your family
  • Steps you and your family members can take to lower your cancer risk

Qualified Cancer Genetics Professionals have advanced degrees and specialized training in genetics, cancer, counseling, and hereditary cancer syndromes.

Why should I talk to a cancer genetics professional before having genetic testing?

Genetic testing for hereditary cancer is very complex. There are many different genes in addition to BRCA1 and 2 that can be evaluated, and testing several genes at once is possible. Cancer genetics professionals have the skills to determine which type of genetic testing is best for you and your family.

Interpreting the results of a genetic is often not straightforward. Uncertain or uninformative results can occur. Cancer genetics professionals have the knowledge to correctly determine what these results mean, and how they can best be used to customize your screening and risk reduction options.

Cancer genetics professionals can provide you, your family members, and your healthcare providers with the information, support and resources to ensure the best possible outcome from cancer genetic testing.

How do I find a cancer genetics professional?

Qualified cancer genetics professionals can be located at:

Should I be concerned about my insurance if I have genetic testing?

The Genetic Information Non discrimination Act (GINA), a federal law passed in 2008, prohibits health insurance companies and employers from discrimination based on family or genetic test results. Most states also have laws that prevent health insurance companies from using this information to deny coverage or charge higher rates. Read more information about GINA here: and

Most health insurers do cover the cost of genetic counseling and testing if your personal or family history is suggestive of hereditary cancer. Your cancer genetics professional can help you navigate insurance coverage for these services.