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Genetic Counseling

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Learn more about our genetic program.

Genetics Counseling

Effect of Genetics on Cancer Risk

Numerous discoveries have been made through the Human Genome Project regarding the hereditary basis of cancer. These discoveries have the potential to revolutionize medical care as we know it, and have already influenced medical management decisions for some patients. Researchers estimate that about 5 to 10 percent of breast and colorectal cancers may be inherited; whereas up to 15% - 24% of ovarian cancer may be inherited. Studies suggest that a greater percentage of prostate cancer may be due to hereditary factors. Some cancers in children may even be due to a genetic predisposition within a family.

Factors that may Increase the Risk of Cancer

While everyone has some risk of developing cancer, the following factors may determine whether a family history poses an additional concern:

  • Multiple relatives with cancers or personal history of cancer, especially when diagnosed at an early age
  • A relative with several different types of cancer (not due to spread or metastasis from the initial cancer site)
  • Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry
  • A rare cancer in one or more family members
  • A known cancer susceptibility syndrome in the family, such as one of the following:
    • Lynch Syndrome
    • Familial adenomatous polyposis
    • MUTYH-associated polyposis
    • Hereditary breast-ovarian cancer syndrome
    • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
    • Von-Hippel-Lindau syndrome
    • Multiple endocrine neoplasia Type 1
    • Multiple endocrine neoplasia Type 2
    • Familial cutaneous malignant melanoma

Coverage of Services

The Cancer Genetics program services at the Penn State Cancer Institute are covered by a number of medical insurance plans. To learn if a particular plan will cover the genetics consultation, call our office at 717-531-1631. For more information or to schedule an appointment at Penn State Health, call 717-531-1631 or the 24-hour CareLine at 800-243-1455.

Cancer Risk Assessment

Curious if you’re at increased risk of developing certain types of cancer in your lifetime? Our Cancer Genetics Program will help you determine if genetic testing is right for you.

Are you a candidate for Genetic Testing?

Genetics - Care Team datatable

The Cancer Genetics Program at the Penn State Cancer Institute offers a unique team approach to genetic testing and cancer risk management.