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Climb through your family tree to catch cancer early

Why see a cancer genetic counselor?
Some types of cancer run in families, which presents future generations with a higher risk of having those cancers. If you’ve had cancer at a young age, had two or more separate cancers or have several family members who have battled cancer, you may want to think about genetic counseling and perhaps genetic testing.

A cancer genetic counselor will evaluate your family health history and talk about risks for inherited cancer, as well as screening and management for those at increased risk. If genetic testing is available, the counselor will tell you about the tests and help you decide if testing would be valuable to you.

If you have had cancer, genetic testing may be useful to you and your medical team for making decisions about cancer management.

If you have not had cancer, these assessments can help you understand your risk for cancer and the risks for other members of the family. Continue Reading »

What is Genetic Counseling?

The goal of genetic counseling is to help you learn more about the causes of genetic conditions (an illness caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes) and how they affect you.

As a genetic counselor, I can review your family and medical histories and figure out if you or your family members are at risk for disease. I can also offer information about genetic conditions and explain how they are passed down through families. As a genetic counselor, I will provide materials about testing options and give professional recommendations and guidance so that you can make informed choices or life plans. If it is found that you have a condition, I can direct you towards medical specialists, advocacy groups, support networks as well as any other resources you might need so that you can make the best decision for you and your family. Continue Reading »

The role of a medical oncologist

Medical oncologists and radiation oncologists work side by side to treat patients diagnosed with cancer and help them maintain the best quality of life possible throughout the treatment process.

The difference between radiation oncologists and medical oncologists can be boiled down to treatment of specific areas versus treatment of the entire body. Radiation oncologists focus on destroying cancerous cells in specific target areas on the body, mostly using radiation therapy. Medical oncologists, on the other hand, work at treating the entire body using whatever medicines are best deemed for that type of cancer depending on the stage it’s at.

As a medical oncologist, I start my work right away when it is discovered that a patient has cancer. Typically, I meet with a radiation oncologist and a surgeon and together we figure out which treatment plan will best attack the cancer. We also talk to the patient about his or her type of cancer, the different options that are available to fight it and how effective those methods are. Continue Reading »

Watch Amber and Brenda’s cancer stories

Watch Amber’s cancer story:

Watch Brenda’s cancer story:

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