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Cancer Genetics Risk Program

Dr. Zunich counsels Crown Point resident and Women’s Diagnostic Center patient Katie Grogan regarding genetics and breast cancer risk.

The Cancer Genetics Risk program of Community Healthcare System offers comprehensive cancer risk assessment that focuses on family history and genetics, taking into account environmental and lifestyle factors. If indicated, patients can choose to use genetic cancer testing to assist with identifying cancer-prevention strategies. Genetic testing can often help identify gene mutations found in many cancers, such as breast, ovarian, lung, colon, thyroid and others.

Counseling

Cancer risk genetic counseling includes consultation with a team of healthcare professionals to review personal and family history, help determine cancer risk and provide recommendations to reduce cancer risk and detect cancer earlier.

Genetic counseling before genetic testing helps individuals make a truly informed decision about whether testing is right for them. Genetic counseling after testing helps to explain the meaning and implications of the test result, including determining if further testing is necessary.

Testing

Genetic testing is used to determine if a genetic change or mutation is present in a gene which can increase a person’s risk for cancer. The decision whether to have genetic testing is a personal choice that can be made at the time of a genetic counseling appointment or at a future date. For many people, a cancer risk assessment can be provided through genetic counseling alone, without the use of genetic tests. However, in some cases, testing may help you and your physician make important decisions about your medical care.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, genetic counseling may be useful for you:

  • Have you or a close relative been diagnosed with cancer before age 50?
  • Do you have more than one blood relative with the same type of cancer? If yes, is the same type of cancer found in more than one generation?
  • Has anyone in your family had more than one type of cancer, not including basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers?
  • Has anyone in your family had cancer on both sides of the body, as in breasts, kidneys or eyes?
  • Are you related to someone who is known to have an inherited mutation that can cause cancer?

To find out more about cancer risk and genetic counseling, call for an appointment, 219-934-8856.