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Cancer Genetic Counselor

Genetic counseling gives you information about how genetic conditions might affect you or your family.

Although most cancers occur at random, approximately 5-10% of cancers are due to hereditary cancer risk genes. Cancer genetic evaluation is offered through the Oncology Service at Confluence Health and involves collecting and analyzing the personal and family history of cancer for patterns suggestive of hereditary causes. When indicated, genetic testing can be offered to potentially clarify cancer risk and guide cancer screening, prevention and/or
treatments for high-risk individuals and their families. Importantly, a genetics consult does not require genetic testing, but is an opportunity to share information, address related questions and concerns, and help the patient/family decide whether genetic testing may be helpful for them.

Referral for cancer genetic evaluation may be appropriate for individuals with a personal or family history of early-onset cancer, bilateral or multiple cancer primaries, rare/more heritable cancer types, or multiple close relatives with the same or related cancers.

What does a genetic counselor do?

A genetic counselor can evaluate your individual risk of getting certain types of cancer based on your family's medical history. They also explain which genetic tests can give you more information about your risk level.

It can be complex to decide whether you should have genetic testing to find out more about your hereditary cancer risk. Your counselor will explain the testing process, what the tests can and cannot do, and how well they work. Together, you will also discuss how knowing the test results may affect your emotions, mental health, and family. This information can help you decide if having genetic testing is right for you.

Genetic counselors can also advise you on:

  • Cancer screening and early detection options
  • Cancer prevention and risk reduction
  • Diagnostic and treatment options
  • The privacy of your genetic information
  • How to talk with family members about inherited cancer risk

Genetic Counselor Confluence Health:

  • Oncology Office: 509.436.6240
  • Fax: 509.664.3436
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