Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment
Because about 5% to 10% of all cancers have a hereditary component, our Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment Program is available to help identify persons who are at higher risk for developing cancers due to an inherited predisposition. Identifying these cancer risks can assist health care providers to tailor patient management and treatment options, as well as prescribe diagnostic and screening tests for earlier cancer detection.
- What is cancer genetic risk assessment and what does it involve?
- Who should consider cancer genetic risk assessment?
- Does insurance cover cancer genetic counseling and testing?
- Scheduling an appointment for cancer genetic risk assessment
What is cancer genetic risk assessment and what does it involve?
A cancer genetic risk assessment helps determine individuals who may be at increased risk for developing cancer, and provides guidance with what can be done. The assessment typically involves an hour-long appointment, which can include some or all of the following:
- Personal and family history evaluation with a genetic counselor
- Risk assessment using medical and computerized risk models
- Genetic education and counseling
- Discussion of genetic testing and its implications for the patient and their family members
- Psychosocial support
- Recommendations for screening and prevention options (e.g., breast MRI, colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, preventative medications or surgeries, etc.)
Genetic testing may be an option for some people, but is not a requirement. If and when genetic testing is performed, it will involve providing either a non-fasting blood sample or saliva sample. Results typically take about 2 weeks to come back, though can take as long as 12 weeks, and follow-up appointments are provided as needed. The genetic counseling and testing process is kept private and confidential, with the results shared only with those people designated by the patient.
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Who should consider cancer genetic risk assessment?
- Anyone with a personal and/or family history of cancer which suggests a hereditary susceptibility. Features of hereditary cancer susceptibility include:
- Cancer diagnosed younger than age 50
- More than one close family member diagnosed with either the same type of cancer or related cancers (e.g., breast and ovarian, colon and uterine, melanoma and pancreatic)
- Diagnosis of rare cancer or a rare tumor
- Diagnosis of two or more primary cancers in the same person
- Multiple generations affected with the same type of cancer or related cancers
- Anyone with questions or concerns about their family history of cancer
- Anyone considering cancer genetic testing
- Anyone who has already undergone genetic testing and would like to discuss the results in detail
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Does insurance cover cancer genetic counseling and testing?
Genetic counseling is covered by most major insurance plans, including Medi-Cal, though Medicare does not cover genetic counseling services at California Pacific Medical Center. Genetic testing is very often covered as well, though certain criteria have to be met. As of 2009, the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) prevents a genetic test result from being called a pre-existing condition, or being used by either employers or health insurers to discriminate against individuals.
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Scheduling an appointment for cancer genetic risk assessment
To make an appointment for a cancer genetic risk assessment, contact us at 415-600-3073. New patients can download and complete our family history questionnaire and medical history prior to your first appointment.
Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment Program
Bryan Hemming Cancer Care Center
California Pacific Medical Center
2351 Clay Street, Suite 134
San Francisco, CA 94115
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