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What Is Genetic Counseling?
Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical concerns in their family. Carle genetic counselors help people make informed decisions about their health and genetic information.

Our team works in a variety of areas including pregnancy care and planning, pediatrics, cancer, and others. Genetic counseling is specific to your needs and the information you are seeking. Your team can work with you to set up an appointment at Carle Cancer Institute.
Sometimes when there is a change in a cancer gene passed down in a family, we see certain patterns. Some patterns that we see include:
  • Two or more close relatives with cancer.
  • Cancer diagnosed before age 50.
  • More than one diagnosis of cancer in an individual (second primary).
  • Several generations with cancer.
  • Unusual or rare cancers.
  • Ethnicity (for example, Ashkenazi Jewish).
Is there one or more of these patterns in your family? If so, ask your doctor if you should meet with a genetic counselor.

A typical genetic counseling visit includes:
  • Discussion of medical history
  • Collection of family history
  • Discussion of how cancer risks can be passed down in a family
  • Discussion of cancer prevention options and screening
  • Review of genetic testing options
  • Supportive counseling
People who have genetic counseling may have just one visit, while other people meet with a genetic counselor every few years. Since information about cancer genetics is growing and new testing options or recommendations may become available, you may wish to follow-up with a genetic counselor even if you had genetic counseling in the past.
You may want to gather some information before meeting with a genetic counselor. You may not be able to get all of the details but the more information you have, the more your genetic counselor can help
  • Ask your relatives about medical conditions in the family, especially if someone has had cancer. How old were they when the cancer was diagnosed? Has anyone had genetic testing in the family?
  • Gather any medical records of your cancer history or family history, especially if testing, diagnosis, or treatment were not performed by our team.
  • Bring a list of questions you may have to your appointment.

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With doctors practicing in 80 specialties at locations throughout the region, it’s easy to find the right healthcare team at Carle. Our mission is to serve people through high quality care, medical research and education.


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