Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling may be beneficial both to women with a diagnosis of breast cancer and those who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer but have concerns regarding increased risk for breast cancer.

 

It is important to note that you may benefit from genetic counseling even if you or your family member has previously had a genetic test for increased risk of breast cancer with a negative result. Recently additional genes (in addition to BRCA1 and BRCA2) have been discovered that may provide an explanation for families who have a strong personal/family history of cancer. Contact us to learn if you are an appropriate candidate for additional genetic counseling and testing.

 

For Patients with a Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

 

If you have received a diagnosis of breast cancer and one or more of the following are true for you, you may be advised to meet with a genetic counselor*:

  • You have a known BRCA1/2 or other high risk gene mutation in your family
  • You were diagnosed with breast cancer at age 45 or younger
  • You were diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 or younger and have a close family member (parent, sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin) who was diagnosed with breast cancer at any age
  • You were diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 or younger and have been diagnosed with more than one primary breast cancer tumor
  • You were diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 or younger and have limited or unknown information regarding family history of cancer
  • You were diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer (breast cancer that is estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative and HER2-negative) and you received this diagnosis at age 60 or younger
  • You or a family member (parent, sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin) have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at any age
  • You are male and have received a diagnosis of breast cancer at any age
  • You have a male family member who has been diagnosed with breast cancer at any age
  • You have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage and you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • You have a family member (parent, sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin) diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 or younger
  • You have two family member (parent, sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin) on the same side of your family diagnosed with breast cancer at any age

A genetic counselor will help you understand whether genetic testing is indicated, what genetic testing is appropriate for you, and what impact undergoing genetic testing may have for your health and the health of your family members.

 

Please be aware that in recent years, at-home genetic testing (also known as direct-to-consumer genetic testing) has become available. For this type of testing, a person sends a DNA sample directly to a genetic testing company, without the involvement of his/her physician and/or genetic counselor. Many genetics experts caution against using at-home genetic testing. The test results can be confusing and may not accurately reflect a person's risk for cancer or other health problems. We recommend meeting with a genetic counselor who can provide guidance and interpretation for genetic testing.

 

To make an appointment, call Oncology Genetics at (608) 263-7284.

 

* Recommendations for genetic counseling are adopted from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for genetic testing for breast cancer.


Breast Cancer Risk Evaluation

(For patients who have not received a diagnosis of breast cancer)

 

The PATHS (Prevention, Assessment and Tailored Health Screening) program at the UW Breast Center was established to identify, educate and provide screening for women who are at an elevated risk of breast cancer.


To do this, we have put together a team of professionals who are experts in this area of breast care. PATHS program providers will evaluate your unique situation, discuss your concerns and make recommendations for further testing if indicated. They also will discuss screening plan options and risk reduction, and plan your follow-up based on your personal goals. Learn more