You may be familiar with some of the risk factors for breast and ovarian cancer, such as family history, age and reproductive history. You may also have heard about the discovery of certain genes that contribute to cancer. Participants in this program will receive individualized counseling and evaluation of their personal and family risk. The role of genetics in breast and ovarian cancer will be discussed and the options for genetic testing considered.

About Our Program
The Genetic Counseling Program of Chester County Hospital, offered at Penn Women's Specialty Center, is specifically designed for women who want information about their personal risk for breast and ovarian cancer. You can expect the following:

  • Assistance in understanding your risk factors
  • Responsiveness to your personal concerns
  • A review of your family history, personal medical history and lifestyle risk factors
  • Explanation of genetic testing and if this is a reasonable option for you
  • A written summary of your level of risk
  • An outline of a plan for continued monitoring to help protect your health.
  • Evaluation of your eligibility to participate in research studies

Who can benefit from the program?
People who are concerned about their family or personal history of cancer may benefit from cancer risk assessment, including:

  • Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age (younger than 50) or ovarian cancer.
  • Women with two or more close relatives (siblings, parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles), on the same side of the family, with the same or related types of cancer (for instance breast and ovarian, colon and uterine)
  • Women who have had more than one type of cancer
  • Families that have a known cancer predisposition gene

What to expect
Before the appointment, participants will be asked to gather information about their family and its medical history. These forms are needed so that we can tailor your first visit to your personal situation.

At your first appointment you will meet with a certified genetics counselor who will review the information you have provided and will gather additional information as necessary. You will learn the significance of risk factors and find out about the role of genes, inheritance and genetic testing as they relate to your family history.

Following the first visit, our team will then review your information at a multidisciplinary case conference at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. This group of cancer and genetics professionals will assess your risk, develop recommendations for follow up care and determine your eligibility for further participation in research.

During your second visit, you will meet with the gynecologic oncologist and the certified genetics counselor. The physician will review the recommendations of your risk assessment and conduct a physical exam. If your recommendations include genetic testing, the certified genetics counselor will review additional information regarding the benefits and limitations of testing.

We will also discuss the following issues:

  • The process of genetic testing (a simple blood test), including the risks, benefits, limitations, and costs
  • Genetic testing and insurance
  • Cancer screening options
  • Possible participation in available research studies
  • Ways that information about cancer risks may affect the participant and the family

If you decide genetic testing is appropriate, this can be completed at the time of your appointment.

Does everyone who has genetic counseling have genetic testing?
Genetic testing is a personal choice and is not for everyone. Cancer risk assessment can help you decide if testing may be useful to you or your family.

Once the results of the genetic testing are available, you will be contacted to make an appointment to discuss the results of the testing. We will explain what the results mean and discuss a plan to carefully monitor your health based on your level of risk. This plan may include periodic mammograms, breast MRI, physical exams or other specialized testing. Recommendations may include referrals for consultation with other medical specialists.

Expertise to rely on
We are able to offer this program as part of Chester County Hospital's membership in the Penn Cancer Network. The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania is a national leader in the field of breast cancer genetics and has been selected by the National Cancer Institute as one of eight institutions nationally to form its Cancer Genetics Network. This select group collaborates to conduct cancer genetics research on a national level, which may be offered to you as a participant in the program.

Participants in this program will be billed standard outpatient fees for the risk evaluation visit with the certified genetics counselor and the physical examination with the gynecologic oncologist. We will work with you and your insurance company so that you can understand what your potential out of pocket expenses may be. To the extent possible, we will bill your insurance company.

Genetic testing is performed through a commercial laboratory that will coordinate billing for this test with your insurance company. The testing company will contact you in the event that there will be any out of pocket expenses related to the genetic testing.

If you feel that you may be a candidate for the Genetic Counseling Program please contact Penn Women's Specialty Center at 610.423.4556.


Penn Women's Specialty Center
Fern Hill Medical Campus
915 Old Fern Hill Road
Building D, suite 503 (2nd floor)
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610.423.4556
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