What is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic counselors interpret genetic risks, explain testing options and test results, and help people understand and adapt to a genetic diagnosis. They can work with you and your physician to understand complex genetic information and help you make informed decisions.
Individuals and families can meet with a genetic counselor for counseling and testing in the areas of cancer genetics, preconception, and family history of a known or suspected genetic condition. Our board-certified genetic counselors hold master’s degrees in genetic counseling and work with many different specialists to make a customized health plan and recommendations for every person. We offer:
- Maternal age-related risks for chromosome abnormalities
- Overview of prenatal screening options and coordination of screening/diagnostic testing
- Test result interpretation for abnormal maternal serum screening, noninvasive prenatal screening or fetal diagnostic testing (CVS, amniocentesis)
- History of personal or familial concerns such as birth defects, intellectual disability or genetic syndromes
- Ethnic based risk assessment and coordination of carrier screening (cystic fibrosis, thalassemias)
- Recurrent pregnancy loss or concern for a teratogenic exposure (e.g. alcohol, certain medications)
- Soft markers or structural anomalies detected by ultrasound
Together, a physician and a genetic counselor will see your child and help determine whether they are at risk of developing cancer and if so, what can be done to prevent cancer or to catch it early. We take into account your child’s unique medical and family history to help you develop a tailored medical plan that may include genetic testing of at-risk individuals. We will help you understand test results and implications for your child and other family members.
If needed, we will also help coordinate a proper surveillance program for your child, which may include physical exams, labs, imaging, and referrals to other subspecialists. Most importantly, we help to counsel and educate you and your family about living with a diagnosis of hereditary cancer, from diagnostic work-up to long-term follow up.