Genetic Counseling and Testing

Genetics is an increasingly important part of health care. Each person’s risk or developing cancer is affected by many factors including – genetics, gender, age, family history, history of hormone exposure, and more. In cancer, knowing your family history and genetic make-up can save lives.

Jupiter Medical Center’s Cancer Genetics and High Risk Program can help determine your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Through genetic screening and, if appropriate, genetic testing, your cancer risk is evaluated.

How a Genetic Counselor Can Help You & Your Family

Scientists believe that about 10 percent of cancers are hereditary, or passed down through the family. Talking to family members about the types of cancer in the family is one of the first steps in the cancer risk assessment process. If you are concerned about your risk of developing cancer, it is important that you see a genetics counselor.

Genetics counselors are specially trained to educate and advise you and your family on identifying and managing inherited cancer risk. If you are at an increased risk we will work with you to develop strategies to reduce or manage your risk. Some of these strategies include lifestyle changes, increased screening and surveillance, medicines to reduce cancer risk and, in some cases, preventive surgery.

Genetic testing is a personal decision with many factors to consider. Our genetics counselor will address your questions and concerns, and help you through the process of testing and understanding the results.

Red Flags for Hereditary Cancer

If you meet any of the following criteria, or if you have any family history of the following, you should consider genetic counseling and testing. If you have had a diagnosis of cancer, genetic testing may determine if your cancer was due to an inherited gene mutation and help you make informed decisions about how to manage future cancer risk.

  • Do you or your family have any history of the following:
  • Breast cancer before age 50
  • Ovarian cancer at any age
  • Two primary breast cancers at any age
  • Male breast cancer
  • Triple-negative breast cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome* at any age
  • Three or more HBOC syndrome* associated cancers at any age
  • Colorectal cancer before age 50
  • Endometrial/uterine cancer before age 50
  • Two or more Lynch syndrome** cancers at any age
  • A previously identified cancer related gene mutation in the family

*HBOC syndrome: cancer of the breast, ovarian, pancreatic, aggressive prostate cancers, and melanoma

**Lynch syndrome: cancer of the colon, rectal, uterine/endometrial, ovarian, stomach/gastric, kidney/ ureter, biliary tract, small bowel, pancreas, brain, and sebaceous adenomas describe the benefits, risks and limitations of genetic testing, and interpret your genetic test results for you. Although individuals who have a positive test result are at an increased risk to develop cancer, a positive test result does not necessarily mean they will develop cancer.