Genetic Counseling

Three generations of women

The Comprehensive Breast Center works with a certified genetic counselor to provide patients with telemedicine genetic counseling services, offering specific information to help patients assess their risk for breast and ovarian cancer. 

What is the role of a Genetic Counselor?

Genetic counselors offer support to patients who are interested in learning whether they have a hereditary form of cancer. Hereditary cancer is cancer caused by an inherited gene mutation that has been passed from one generation to the next. Determining whether or not a patient's cancer is hereditary may provide insight about additional cancer risks for the patient and his or her other family members. 

Counselors can assess family history to determine if the cancer in a patient's family may be hereditary and if genetic testing may be an option to consider. Counselors also provide information about genetic risk factors.

Genetic counseling may be helpful if:

  • Certain types of cancer are present in multiple generations, on the same side of a patient's family
  • A patient and/or his or her relatives have been diagnosed with cancer at an early age (age 50 and under)
  • A patient or a relative has been diagnosed with multiple cancers
  • There is a presence of rare cancers in a patient's family history (example: male breast cancer)
  • A patient is concerned that his or her history of cancer may be linked to other cases of cancer within the family
  • Additional information is desired about cancer risks
  • Genetic testing for cancer is desired

What can be expected with a meeting with a genetic counselor?

  • A personalized cancer risk assessment based on personal and family risk factors
  • A review of the most current information about hereditary cancer genes
  • Discussions about cancer screening and strategies for risk reduction
  • Discussions about the pros and cons of genetic testing
  • Identifications of other family members who have an increased risk for developing cancer
  • Help in deciding if genetic testing is the right thing to do

For additional information about genetic counseling services at UM Shore Regional Health, call 410-820-9400. Telemedicine counseling services are also provided.