Why do some women develop breast cancer while others do not? Why does a man get diagnosed with colon cancer at age 41 while his brother lives cancer-free well into his 90s? There are many reasons why people get cancer but for some families genetics can play a critical role in determining cancer risk, and genetic counseling can help answer these questions.
Many people ask – What is a genetic counselor? We are licensed healthcare professionals with a masters degree specifically in genetic counseling and have passed a rigorous national certification exam administered by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Genetic counselors play an increasingly important role in many areas of healthcare such as cancer, pediatrics, pregnancy care, cardiovascular disease, and laboratory medicine.
Genetic counseling and cancer risk assessment can help you and your healthcare provider develop treatment, screening, and prevention strategies to assure that you and your family receive the best possible healthcare.
The Hereditary Cancer Clinic at Swedish Medical Center offers genetic counseling to cancer patients and their families. You can learn more about the Hereditary Cancer Clinic here. To learn more about genetic counseling, visit the website of the National Society of Genetic Counselors: www.nsgc.org.
Have you had genetic counseling? If you have tips for others considering genetic counseling, please share them below!