Genetic Counseling

About Cancer Genetic Counseling

Inherited Cancer

People with a family history of cancer have a higher risk of getting cancer. Genetic changes are called mutations. Mutations that cause higher cancer risk can pass through families.

Only 5-10 percent of all cancers are caused by inherited mutations.

Genetic Counseling Services

Grand Valley Oncology offers the following services based on your personal and family health history:

  • Assess your cancer risk
  • Find ways to reduce your cancer risk (your chance of getting cancer)
  • Suggest a cancer screening schedule
  • Interpret the results of genetic testing
  • Provide information about research programs and studies at HCI

Risk Factors

Signs of Inherited Risk Factors

Here are some signs that a family may have inherited mutations:

  • Several members on the same side of the family have the same kind of cancer
  • Family members get cancer at an early age such as breast, colon, or uterine cancer before age 50
  • Family members have more than one kind of cancer:
    • Melanoma and pancreatic cancer
    • Breast and ovarian cancer
    • Colon and uterine cancer
  • There are rare cancers in the family, including the following:
    • Ovarian cancer
    • Pancreatic cancer
    • Male breast cancer

Genetic Testing for Cancer

Genetic testing looks for gene mutations that raise a person's chances of getting cancer.

How does the test work?

Genetic testing starts with a sample of your blood or saliva. We send your sample to a laboratory. The test looks for differences in your genes compared to the general population. These differences may be mutations that increase your odds of getting cancer.>

Results come back to Grand Valley Oncology in two to four weeks. You will meet with a genetic counselor to discuss what the results mean.>

Is genetic testing recommended for everyone?

Genetic testing is not right for everyone. Genetic counselors and health care providers can talk to you about whether genetic testing could be helpful. If your family has any of the signs above, you should consider genetic testing. You always have the final decision about whether to be tested.

How to schedule a genetic counseling appointment

Talk to your health care provider about genetic counseling to see if it is right for you.