Genetic Testing and Risk Assessments
Genetic testing uses medical tests to look for changes in genes and chromosomes. Genetic testing may be used to determine a person’s inherent risk of developing a type of cancer. Other times, physicians may order genetic testing on cancer cells to help with prognosis during a cancer patient’s treatment or to explore whether a certain treatment may be effective.
Two genetic tests that the public has become more aware of in recent years look for changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (breast cancer genes). The board-certified genetic counselors at ProHealth Care perform these tests as well as tests to assess risk for other cancers.
Who should seek a cancer risk assessment?
You may consider genetic cancer testing if:
You've already had cancer and are concerned about the risk of additional cancers for yourself and other family members.
A close family member or several family members have had cancer and you want to determine if you're at risk.
Your family is known to have an inherited cancer syndrome.
You have another medical condition that may increase your risk for cancer, such as non-cancerous colon polyps.
How does a personal cancer risk assessment work?
If you request a cancer risk assessment, you will meet with a board-certified genetic counselor who will review your medical and family history.
During the genetic counseling session, you'll learn about the role of genes in the development of cancer and why genetic testing for cancer is so important.
Your genetic counselor will help determine whether genetic testing for cancer will be beneficial for you and your family.
If you pursue genetic cancer testing, your genetic counselor and a physician will meet with you to discuss your results and what they mean for you and your family. The counselor and physician also will help you develop a plan for managing your cancer risk.
If you have questions about genetic testing, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. If you would like to schedule a consultation to learn more about genetic cancer testing for you or members of your family, call 262-696-0909.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Will my insurance company pay for genetic counseling?
- Most insurance companies cover genetic counseling. Keep in mind, however, that every insurance plan is different. Some plans may require a referral from your doctor.
- Will my insurance company pay for genetic testing?
- Most insurance companies cover the cost of genetic testing. Your genetic counselor will help you determine coverage and will write a letter of medical necessity, if needed.
- Can insurance companies use genetic test results to discriminate?
- Both state and federal law prevent insurance companies from using genetic test results to raise rates or deny coverage. Your genetic counselor will provide information regarding insurance and the laws during your appointment.