Genetic Testing/Counseling for Cancer

General Information | Scheduling, Insurance and Preparation | What to Expect


General information General Information

About Genetic Counseling

Anyone with concerns about how their family history of cancer affects their cancer risks should consider seeing a genetic counselor.

During a genetic counseling appointment, a board-certified genetic counselor will spend time reviewing your personal and family history of cancer. She will explain what that history means for your cancer risks and those of your relatives. She may recommend using various models to further evaluate your risk. If genetic testing is clinically indicated for you, she will discuss the details of that process so you can make a decision about whether the testing makes sense for you. With or without genetic testing, the genetic counselor will provide you with more personalized estimates of your cancer risks. This may lead to additional screening and medical management options that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. These options may allow for early detection and/or prevention of cancer.

Reasons Genetic Counseling and Testing Are Done

Anyone with concerns about their personal and family history of any type of cancer should consider scheduling a genetic counseling visit, especially those with any of the following in the family:

  • Cancer diagnosed prior to age 50, especially breast, colorectal, or endometrial
  • A combination of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (Jewish with ancestors from Eastern Europe, usually Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia) and breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer at any age.
  • 2 or more family members with the same type or related types of cancer*
  • 2 or more of the same type or related type of cancers in a patient*

*Suspicious cancer clusters include: breast/ovarian, colorectal/endometrial/ ovarian, melanoma/pancreatic.

Risks Involved in Genetic Counseling

There are no risks associated with genetic counseling. Risks and benefits to genetic testing will covered during the genetic counseling visit.

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Scheduling, Insurance and Preparation Scheduling, Insurance and Preparation

Exam Locations

Genetic counseling and testing is done at the following Invision Sally Jobe locations in the Denver, Colorado area:

Call 720-493-3700 to schedule.

Scheduling

Contact your personal physician for a referral for this exam. Then call 720-493-3700 to schedule.

Insurance Coverage

This visit is billed like any other office visit with a specialist physician. Usually, patients are responsible for a copayment out-of-pocket but each situation is different depending on the individual insurance plan.

Conditions to Let Us Know About

You will complete a detailed cancer family history as part of the genetic counseling process. Be as thorough and honest as possible when completing your history and pay special attention to types of cancer in relatives (including parents, siblings, nieces/nephews, aunts/uncles, grandparents, and cousins), as well as ages of diagnosis. This information will better help the genetic counselor determine your risk and need for genetic testing.

Preparation Guidelines

If you decide to have genetic testing at the time of your appointment, a mouthwash sample will be collected. A blood sample is also an option but the mouthwash sample is preferred by most patients. This sample will be sent to an outside laboratory so they can analyze DNA from your cheek cells. Please plan not to eat or drink anything (including water or gum) for 30 minutes prior to your appointment.

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What to Expect What to Expect

During the Appointment

A technologist positions a patient for a foot x-ray.

When you arrive for your exam, the genetic counselor will begin by reviewing your current cancer screening practices and relevant personal medical history. She will then take a detailed family history, asking specifically about which of your relatives have had cancer and at what age they were diagnosed. If you are a candidate for genetic testing, the genetic counselor will explain the informed consent process for any genetic testing that is relevant to you. If you decide to have genetic testing, she can collect the sample that day to send to an external laboratory for analysis. With or without genetic testing, the genetic counselor will use various tools to help you better understand your personalized risk of breast and other cancers. She may recommend additional cancer screening and risk reduction measures that you can discuss with your referring doctor(s).

After the Appointment

Recovery

You can return to your normal activities immediately after your appointment.

Genetic Testing Results

After your work-up is complete (which may or may not include genetic testing), the genetic counselor will generate a full report. A copy of this report will be sent to your referring physician as well as to you directly. This report will include standard medical management recommendations based on your personalized risk for cancer. You can then discuss these recommendations with your referring doctor at your next office visit. If you had any genetic testing, you will receive a copy of those results for your records.

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