You may be familiar with some of the risk factors for gastrointestinal, 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 cancer will be discussed and the options for genetic testing considered.
About The Cancer Risk Evaluation Program
The Cancer Risk Evaluation Program (CREP) at The Abramson Cancer Center at Chester County Hospital is specifically designed for men and women who want information about their personal risk for gastrointestinal, 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 Cancer Risk Evaluation Program?
Residents of Chester County and the surrounding communities 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 at any age.
- Individuals who have a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer and are aware of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.
- Men who are diagnosed with breast cancer at any age.
- Individuals with colon or uterine cancer diagnosed at an early age (younger than 50).
- Women with two or more close relatives (siblings, parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins), on the same side of the family, with the same or related types of cancer (for instance breast and ovarian, colon and uterine).
- Individuals who have had more than one type of cancer.
- Families that have a known cancer mutation in a pre-disposition gene.
What to Expect from Genetic Counseling
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 genetic counselor who will review the information you 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.
If genetic testing is recommended, the genetic counselor will review additional information, including:
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, you may be scheduled for a second visit with the genetic counselor and a physician to discuss your genetic testing results and any medical management recommendations.
During your second visit, the physician and genetic counselor will interpret your genetic testing results in the context of your personal and/or family history of cancer. They will explain what the results mean and discuss a plan to carefully monitor you based on your individual level of risk for developing cancer. This plan may include periodic radiology studies, physical exams or other specialized testing. Recommendations may include referrals for consultation with other medical specialists.
Does Everyone Who Has Genetic Counseling Have Genetic Testing?
Genetic testing is a personal choice and is not for everyone. The cancer risk assessment can help you decide if testing may be useful to you or your family.
Participants in this program are not billed any fee for the risk evaluation visit with the certified genetic counselor. The second visit with the genetic counselor and physician is billed to your insurance as a specialist visit and would be covered like any other specialist visit.
Genetic testing is performed through a commercial laboratory that will coordinate billing for this test with your insurance company. Many health insurers cover all or a significant portion of the cost of testing for individuals who have a greater risk to carry a cancer mutation in a predisposition gene. Individuals whose testing is not fully covered typically pay less than $100. The potential cost of testing is discussed in more detail during the initial risk evaluation appointment.
If you feel that you may be a candidate for the Genetic Counseling program, please consult with your Chester County Hospital oncologist or other physician for a referral.
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