A majority of cancer diagnoses are due to unknown causes; however, 5-10% of individuals may develop cancer due to an inherited genetic mutation. This can lead to a hereditary cancer syndrome, which increases the risk for various cancers. At the Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, our certified genetic counselors are available to meet with you and your family members to understand your personal and family history and facilitate genetic testing, if needed. Our team will help you understand your results and what they mean to you and your family.
Navigating the genetic testing process can be complicated and overwhelming. Your genetic counselor will:
Help you understand your family history and determine if genetic testing is right for you and your loved ones
Evaluate the pros and cons of genetic testing
Assist in interpreting your results so you can fully understand how they may impact you as well as explore your options for next steps if needed
For Duncan Cancer Center Patients
Same-day genetic counseling is available to all Duncan Cancer Center patients if recommended by your physician. If you think genetic counseling may be right for you, talk with your physician.
For Undiagnosed Patients with a Family History
Currently, we see unaffected patients with a history of breast, ovarian, endometrial/uterine cancer. We offer same-day appointments where you would meet with a genetic counselor, followed by the appropriate oncologist, based on your family history.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you meet any of the following criteria, we recommend scheduling a genetic risk assessment to determine if you or your family would benefit from genetic testing:
Personal or family history of breast cancer diagnosed at age 45 or younger
Personal or family history of two or more breast cancers if one was diagnosed at age 50 or younger
Personal or family history of triple-negative breast cancer diagnosed at age 60 or younger
Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and personal or family history of breast cancer
At least three family members with breast cancer (in the same bloodline)
Personal diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer
Breast cancer and gastric cancer if one diagnosed before age 50
Personal or family history of ovarian cancer
Personal or family history of endometrial/uterine cancer diagnosed at age 50 or younger
Personal history of endometrial cancer and another Lynch syndrome-related cancer*
More than ten adenomatous polyps
Two or more hamartomatous polyps
Five or more serrated polyps proximal to sigmoid colon
Personal or family history of gastric cancer diagnosed at age 40 or younger
Two gastric cancers in the family if one was diagnosed before age 50
Three gastric cancers in the family (in the same bloodline)
Gastric cancer and breast cancer if one diagnosed before age 50
Personal history of gastric cancer and family history of juvenile polyps or gastrointestinal polyposis
Personal history of gastric cancer and family history of a Lynch syndrome cancer*
Two family members with a Lynch syndrome-related cancer with one diagnosed before age 50*
Three family members with a Lynch syndrome-related cancer* (in the same bloodline)
A close family member with male breast cancer, ovarian cancer, metastatic prostate cancer or pancreatic cancer
Many patient’s insurance plans will cover genetic testing. Your genetic counselor will discuss insurance coverage with you during your first appointment.
Your genetic counselor will meet with you to discuss your personal and family history of cancer during your first appointment. They will also let you know what to expect when pursuing genetic testing and help you determine if that is the right option for you. The Duncan Cancer Center offers genetic counseling appointments on the same day as your oncologist appointments. If you have not been diagnosed with cancer, you will meet with an oncologist immediately after your appointment.
It is essential to come prepared for your first appointment. Helpful information includes:
If you or a family member have had genetic testing related to cancer, it is very important that you bring a copy of the test results
A detailed list of your family member’s cancer history, including the age they were diagnosed and where their cancer started.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) protects individuals from genetic discrimination in health insurance and employment. This applies to health insurance only and does not apply to life, long-term care, or disability insurance. Ask your genetic counselor any questions you may have about GINA.