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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:

  • You have a blood relative who has tested positive for an inherited mutation
  • You or any family member has had:
    • Pancreatic, ovarian, fallopian tube, primary peritoneal or male breast cancer at any age
    • Breast, colorectal or endometrial cancer at age 50 or younger
    • "Triple-negative breast cancer" at age 60 or younger
    • Prostate cancer at age 55 or younger or metastatic prostate cancer
    • Colorectal or endometrial cancer with tumor testing that are suggestive of Lynch syndrome at any age
    • More than 10 colon polyps
    • Two separate cancer diagnosis
    • Rare or young-onset cancers
    • Tumor testing that shows a mutation in a gene associated with hereditary cancer
    • Eastern European Jewish ancestry and breast, ovarian cancer at any age

During a genetic counseling session, our genetic counselor will:

  • Review your personal and family medical history to assess and explain your risk for cancer 
  • Answer all of your questions about hereditary cancer 
  • Discuss the benefits and limitation of genetic testing to help you decide if testing is right for you 
  • Discuss insurance coverage, the cost of testing, legal protection and privacy issues 
  • Order the appropriate genetic test if you choose to proceed 
  • Interpret and explain what your genetic test results mean for you and your family 
  • Discuss recommendations for screening, prevention and other medical options and refer you to specialists

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) 947-3322.