Genetic Counseling and Testing

Genetic Counseling and Testing

If you have a family history of cancer, you may want to speak with your physician about the John Muir Health cancer genetics program.

Identifying the Risk Early

Knowing if your family has a genetic predisposition for certain types of cancer could save your life.

Our Board Certified Genetic Counselor can assess your risk of developing cancer due to hereditary factors and provide you with valuable knowledge about prevention and early detection – or with the peace of mind of knowing your cancer risk is lower than you may have thought.

Hereditary cancer is suspected when:

  • A family member’s cancer is diagnosed at a younger age than usual. For example:
    • Pre-menopausal breast cancer
    • Colon cancer before age 50
  • If two or more family members have been diagnosed with the same kind of cancer
  • If one family member has been diagnosed with more than one type of cancer
  • If family members have had cancers that are often seen together in hereditary cancer syndromes. For example:
    • Breast and ovarian
    • Colon and uterine

During a genetic counseling session, our genetic counselor will:

  • Make a detailed evaluation of your family history
  • Answer all of your questions about hereditary cancer
  • Discuss the odds that you carry a genetic mutation that increases your cancer risk, and how you might benefit from genetic testing

After the initial counseling session, you may decide to pursue genetic testing, which usually is done with a blood sample, to learn more about your cancer risk. If this is appropriate for you, the testing can be facilitated by the genetic counselor. Our goal is to provide you with knowledge about your hereditary risk, then educate you about ways to reduce the risk.

John Muir Health also participates regularly in academic research studies to identify genetic factors that might predispose individuals to specific cancers. For further information, please contact: (925) 941-4092.