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Genetic Counseling

Centegra Health System’s Genetic Counseling Program offers consultations to those who may be at risk of developing cancer due to their personal or family history of cancer. Through comprehensive genetic evaluation, testing, education and counseling, the Genetic Counseling Program at Centegra can provide you and your family a better understanding of your cancer risks and assist you in making informed medical decisions.

Who Should Consider Genetic Counseling?

Individuals with a personal or family history of cancer are eligible to participate in a cancer genetics risk assessment. Indicators of an increased cancer risk may include one or more of the following:

  • Cancer diagnosed at an early age (e.g. breast cancer, colon cancer, or uterine cancer diagnosed at age 50 or younger)
  • Ovarian cancer diagnosed at any age
  • Multiple family members on the same side of the family who have been diagnosed with cancer
  • An individual or family member diagnosed with two or more primary cancers or a rare cancer (e.g. male breast cancer)
  • A family member who has been diagnosed with a hereditary type of cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry in addition to a risk factor listed above

What Should You Expect During a Genetics Consultation?

Risk Assessment

An individualized cancer risk assessment is generated by the genetic counselor based on your detailed family history and personal medical history. This assessment will help determine if the cancer risk in your family has a hereditary component. The assessment will also help to determine the lifetime cancer risks for you and your family members.

Education, Testing, and Counseling

Centegra’s genetic counselor will educate you about the hereditary causes of cancer. If a hereditary cause of cancer is suspected, the genetic counselor will discuss:

  • Benefits, risks, and limitations of genetic testing
  • Hereditary causes of cancer
  • Psychological and social concerns

Testing is a personal choice. Our counselor will guide you through the decision-making process and address the psychological and social concerns you and your family members may have after learning of an increased cancer risk.

Cancer Prevention and Medical Management

Based on family history and/or genetic testing results, the counselor will discuss cancer surveillance and preventive measures. This may include:

  • Intensive monitoring
  • Surgery
  • Use of medications

Referrals to other medical specialists will be made as needed.

Will Your Insurance Cover Genetic Testing?

Insurance companies frequently cover genetic testing. The genetic counselor will explain the processes in place to help determine the level of insurance coverage if you decide to pursue genetic testing.

What About Genetic Discrimination?

Federal and Illinois state laws prohibit health insurance companies from discriminating against you or your family members for receiving genetic services and testing. The genetic counselor can address any concerns you may have during your appointment.

To schedule an appointment or for more information about genetic counseling, contact the Centegra Sage Cancer Center at 815-444-8000.