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Genetic Risk Assessments: What You Need to Know

Virginia Cancer Specialists Practice Blog

January 05, 2016
Virginia Cancer Specialists » VCS Practice News » Blog Post » Genetic Risk Assessments: What You Need to Know

As the new year begins, you may have some goals you’d like to reach involving your health.

Many health risks are attributed to certain genes within a family. Therefore, you may want to learn more about your family history and how genetic risk assessments and genetic counseling can help unlock the mystery behind it.

What is a Genetic Risk Assessment?

Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment is the process of learning how genetics play a role in cancer risk, and how likely your family is to have inherited predispositions to certain cancers. At a genetic risk assessment appointment, you will learn about the role of genetics in cancer risk, as well as what type of testing (if any) is recommended for you. You will also learn about the risks, benefits and limitations of this testing.  Medical, social, emotional and ethical impacts of genetic testing on you and your family will also be discussed.  Once possible testing is complete, results will be reviewed and a custom screening/treatment plan will be developed.

Why is it important to take a Hereditary Risk Assessment?

Every person is at risk for cancer, but each person and their potential risk is also different, and it can be affected by many factors. Genetics, family history, age, gender, history of hormone exposure, and other factors could play into someone’s risk for cancer. Cancer risk assessment experts use tools to define a person’s risk to develop certain types of cancer. An important component of risk assessment estimates the chance that a gene mutation is responsible for causing the cancers in a family.

It’s important to speak with a genetic risk counselor about how to assess your risk and possible risk for children and other family members. Special options for medical management, lifestyle choices, and family planning can be offered by your counselor.

Visit our Genetic Risk Assessment page for more information and frequently asked questions.