About our Program
Who can benefit from our program?
Individuals who have a personal and/or family history that includes any of the following may benefit from our program:
- Multiple relatives on the same side of the family with the same cancer or related cancers e.g. breast/ovarian/pancreatic colon/uterine/ovarian
- Cancer at unusually early ages e.g. breast cancer younger than 45 years old or colon cancer younger than 50
- More than one diagnosis of cancer in the same individual e.g. breast and ovarian cancer in one person colon and uterine cancer in one person
- Rare cancers e.g male breast cancer medullary thyroid cancer
- A family history of a known altered cancer-predisposing gene
For more detailed referral guidelines, please see our referral guide fact sheet.
Our program consists of three one-hour genetic counseling appointments as follows:
Appointment # 1 Family/Medical History:
The more information you give us, the more accurate your counseling will be. We can collect some of the following information after your first session; however, it would be ideal for you to collect it before your first appointment.
A detailed family history and personal medical history is taken that includes information on all family members, particularly your brothers, sisters, parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins with or without a cancer diagnosis. The information that is collected at this appointment includes: date of birth, ages, ages at death (if appropriate), primary sites of cancer (if appropriate), ages of cancer onset (if appropriate), genetic diseases, birth defects, and ethnic background. We will also ask questions about your spouse's personal and family history.
If you have had a cancer diagnosis, please bring a copy of your pathology reports to your appointment or have them faxed to us at (203) 764-8401.
If you or your relative has had genetic counseling or testing it is important that we have a copy of the test results prior to your first appointment.
Appointment #2 Genetic Counseling:
The second appointment includes a detailed discussion of:
- The likelihood that the cancers in a family are hereditary.
- Which genetic test, if any, would be most appropriate.
- The risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing.
- Available screening and risk reduction options.
- A blood draw if testing is chosen (if you plan to have your blood drawn, please be well-hydrated and wear warm clothing).
Appointment #3 Result Disclosure:
Those individuals who decide to have testing will have a third appointment to learn their test results in person. This appointment includes a detailed discussion of:
- The meaning of results for the individual and other family members.
- Options/recommendations for future cancer detection and risk reduction based on results.
- Following the last appointment, a detailed letter is written that summarizes the information discussed at all three appointments. We will copy this letter to your health care professionals, at your request. You may wish to bring a support person to this appointment.