Cancer Genetics Counseling & Testing
Look to us for the latest information on inherited cancer risks, genetic testing, and options if you have a genetic risk factor for cancer.
If you're concerned about your genetic risk for cancer, the first step is a risk assessment. Your preliminary screening generally includes:
A review of your family history through multiple generations
A review of family members' medical records (when possible)
An evaluation of the types of cancer in a family, as well as the ages at which family members were diagnosed
Genetic Testing and Counseling
Candidates for genetic testing may decide to have DNA testing to identify mutations linked to increased cancer risk. You may be the first person in your family to be tested, or there may be a known genetic mutation in the family.
Once a mutation has been found in a family, close relatives have a 50 percent chance of also having that mutation. Testing in this situation is very straightforward since the laboratory test gives a definitive result: You either do or don't have the mutation. Those with a genetic risk factor will be referred to a genetics counselor to discuss issues related to:
- Your future risk of developing cancer
- Cancer surveillance and prevention strategies
- The emotional impact of genetic information
- Concerns about genetic privacy
Genetic testing and counseling are usually covered by your health insurance. Your genetic counselor can discuss coverage. It may be helpful to contact your insurance company in advance to determine coverage. We offer financial assistance programs for patients who cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs of testing for hereditary cancer.
Expertise in cancer prevention and early detection
Meet the UC San Diego Health doctors who have specialized expertise and experience caring for individuals genetically predisposed or at higher risk for certain cancers.
Prevention & Screening Options
Services for High-Risk Individuals
It is important to emphasize that most cancer is not due to inherited mutations. Researchers estimate that only 5 to 15 percent of cancers are hereditary, depending on the type of cancer. And a positive test for increased risk doesn’t necessarily mean that cancer will develop. In addition, we can assist you in developing optimal strategies for the management of cancer risks based on the family history assessment and/or genetic test results. This may include a referral to one of our high-risk cancer screening programs.