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How a genetic counselor can help with genetic testing

Have you ever wondered if genetic testing would be a good idea for you? A genetic counselor can help you throughout the process. There are many different things the counselor can help with, including

• If testing is available, the counselor will have information about cost and possible benefits and harms of the testing. The counselor will also help you explore what the results of testing will mean for you and your family.

•  Cancer genetic testing is different from some other types of testing because a positive test result does not always mean that you will get cancer. If you test positive for a variation in a cancer gene, it means you are more likely to get cancer.

•  Not all types of cancer are the same—different genetic tests mean different risks for different types of cancer.

•  If you decide to have a genetic test, the counselor will help you arrange for the testing.  Often, the genetic counselor can work with you and your insurance provider to explain the medical importance of testing and determine your coverage before you go forward with testing.

•   If you decide to have a genetic test, the counselor will receive the results of the test and will schedule a follow-up appointment with you to explain your test results.

•  The counselor will also talk about the meaning of the results with you, help you plan to talk about the results with family members, and share the results with your medical team.

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