Just as heredity determines the color of your eyes or the shape of your nose, family history may increase your risk for certain types of cancer. The Department of Clinical Genetics at LewisGale can help you and your family understand your cancer risks and how you can manage or reduce those risks.

Cancer and family history.

Only approximately 5-10 percent of cancers are hereditary cancers, but you may benefit from genetic education, screening or counseling if you or a family member have any of the following risk factors:

  • A personal or family history of cancer
  • A family history of cancer at an unusually young age (before age 50)
  • A family member diagnosed with more than one type of cancer
  • Two or more family members who have had the same type of cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish (Eastern or Central European) ancestry
  • A family member who has tested positive for a cancer gene mutation
  • Multiple polyps in the stomach, colon or intestine
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Male breast cancer

Your first choice for genetic counseling and testing

At the LewisGale Department of Clinical Genetics, our genetic counselor is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). The ABGC certification, identified by the CGC® credential, is the gold standard in the genetic counseling profession and an assurance of working with health professionals who hold the specialized education, training and experience in medical genetics and counseling to help you understand and adapt to the implications of genetic contributions to health. Services we provide include:

  • Hereditary cancer risk assessment
  • Genetic testing and interpretation
  • Genetic education and counseling
  • Personalized cancer screening and prevention recommendations
  • Coordination of care for those with known or suspected genetic risk

What to expect.

First, you’ll meet with our certified genetic counselor (CGC) to complete a thorough family health history and risk-assessment profile. Next, you’ll discuss your:

  • Potential cancer risk and risk-reduction strategies
  • Benefits and limitations of genetic testing
  • Coordination of same-day genetic testing, if desired, through a simple blood test or buccal (saliva) test

Follow-up planning.

When your certified genetic counselor receives your test results, you’ll meet again to discuss them and your options for care and follow-up, which may include information to support genetics-related issued and/or participation in clinical trial studies.