Genetic Counseling and Cancer: Now and in the Future

May 9, 2017
Claire Smith, ASCO Staff

An individual’s risk of developing some types of cancer can be increased by specific genetic changes, or mutations, which are passed down from parents to their children. This increased risk is called hereditary cancer risk.

Genetic testing will allow you to learn if you have genetic mutations currently known to be linked to hereditary cancer risk. share on twitter It will not tell you if you will get cancer, only whether you have a higher risk of developing cancer. The results of genetic testing can also help guide decisions about screening or treatment options. But the decision to be tested is complex, and learning the results can bring up many different emotions. Luckily, genetic counselors are here to help.

Tiffani DeMarco is a certified genetic counselor and co-manager of the Cancer Genetics Program at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia. In this expert podcast, she explains how genetic testing has evolved over time and answers some common questions about the role of a genetic counselor.

  • Who are genetic counselors, and what happens during the process of genetic counseling for hereditary cancer risk? [1:28]

  • What are some signs of hereditary cancer risk? [2:24]

  • What are some of the options currently available for genetic testing? [3:59]

  • How can genetic counselors be involved throughout a person’s medical care? [7:33]

  • Is genetic testing covered by health insurance? [11:10]

  • How can genetic counseling help family members of someone with cancer? [13:04]

  • What are some ways genetic testing might change in the future? [15:36]

This is a prerecorded audio podcast. It can be listened to online or downloaded to your computer. A transcript of this podcast is also available. For more information, visit the Cancer.Net podcast page.