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What can I do to prepare for my cancer genetic counseling appointment?

At your appointment, the counselor will ask you questions about your family’s health history and your medical history. Here is some information that will help the genetic counselor work with you:

• He/She will ask about your own cancer experience, including type(s), part of the body affected and age of diagnosis.

• Have any other members of your family had cancer and what type of cancer did they have? Different types of cancer can run in families. To better understand your cancer family history, you should bring any medical records or pathology reports related to your or your family’s cancers or cancer treatment, if possible.

• What was the age of diagnosis for members of the family with cancer? Generally, the younger a person is when a cancer occurs, the more likely she or he is to have a form of cancer that runs in the family.

• It may be helpful to talk with your family about whether or not anyone has had genetic testing.

Not all predispositions to cancer can be identified by a genetic test. Even if a genetic test is available for a certain type of cancer, genetic testing is not helpful for all individuals.

About Thea Johnson

Thea Johnson provides genetic counseling at Affinity Health System. Genetic counseling services include evaluation of personal and family medical history, risk assessment and genetic testing for patients.

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