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Genetic Counseling Program

Genetic counseling is one of the many services provided by the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Genetic counselors are medical professionals who are trained to help individuals and families understand how genes can affect health. They  explain the effects of genes on health, and guide individuals and families through the decision-making process of whether to pursue genetic testing and adapt to the medical, psychological and potential impacts on families of genetic testing results. 

Genetic counselors work in many different medical specialties. Cancer genetic counselors help identify individuals and families with potential hereditary cancer – to provide cancer-risk assessment and awareness, early cancer detection and cancer prevention.

Approximately 10% of all cancers are hereditary, meaning that they are caused by a change in a specific gene which can be passed from parent to child.  People who inherit these changes (known as “mutations”) have an increased risk of developing specific types of cancer throughout their lifetime. Genetic testing for these changes can help clarify cancer risk for individuals and family members. Genetic testing may also help doctors establish appropriate cancer screening and/or treatment for their patients.

 There are many reasons for people to consider genetic counseling, including:

  • A known genetic mutation in the family
  • Multiple people on the same side of the family with related cancers (ex: mother, daughter, and sisters with breast and/or ovarian cancer)
  • Uncommon cancer presentations (ex: male breast cancer or rare tumor types)
  • Early onset of cancer (usually diagnosed at less than 50 years of age).

If you choose to schedule a genetic counseling appointment, a genetic counselor will review your family and/or personal history of cancer, cover basic information about cancer genetics, and discuss the types of hereditary cancer syndromes and the role certain genes play in the development of cancer. 

If appropriate, the genetic counselor will also discuss the option of genetic testing and can arrange for you to have testing performed. Though many people will only have one in-person meeting with a genetic counselor, they will remain a resource for individuals and families throughout the entire process of genetic testing, often communicating by telephone and letter.

 If you would like to meet with a genetic counselor or are unsure if your family could benefit from genetic counseling, you may want to consult your doctor or call 336-713-6978 for more information.


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Genetic Counseling Program

Phone 336-713-6978
Fax 336-713-3588
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Last Updated: 03-22-2016
Wake Forest Baptist Ranked among Nation’s ‘Best Hospitals’  25 Years in a Row by U.S. News & World ReportComprehensive Cancer Centers National Designation is Renewed2017-2018 Best DoctorsNursing Magnet StatusJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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