• Genetic Counseling

    Our Genetics Program helps you evaluate and understand your family’s risk for developing an inherited medical condition.

    A small percentage of all cancers can be genetic, like some types of breast cancer. This means they’re passed through the genes in your family. If you’re diagnosed with cancer at a young age or have had multiple cases of cancer in your family, doctors often recommend genetic counseling and testing.

    You may benefit from a genetic consultation if you or a close relative:

    • Are known to have an inherited mutation that can increase the risk to develop cancer.
    • Developed cancer on both sides of a pair of organs (e.g., breasts, kidneys, eyes).
    • Developed more than one type of cancer.
    • Have a rare type of cancer.
    • Have more than one blood relative with the same type of cancer (especially in more than one generation).
    • Were diagnosed with cancer at an early age.

    Your Genetics Consultation

    Most of the time, your doctor will refer you for genetic counseling. But you may also request an appointment without a referral.

    During your consultation, you meet with a genetics counselor to talk about:

    • Custom options for lowering and managing your risk.
    • The likelihood of an underlying genetic cancer condition.
    • Whether genetic testing is appropriate for you or another family member.
    • Your personal and family history of cancer.

    Our genetics counselor are master’s-level professionals. He or she can give you information and support, genetic counseling and genetic testing, when needed.

    Not everyone needs genetic testing. Your counselor will help you decide if it’s right for you. If you do need genetic testing, your counselor will talk to you about the benefits and limitations of genetic testing, and guide you through the next steps.

    Schedule an Appointment

    If you’re interested in learning about your genetic risk for cancer, call to make an appointment at 443-481-5081.

    Prepare for Your Appointment

    Before your appointment, you need to:

    • Complete the pre-visit questionnaire.
    • Return the questionnaire at least two weeks before your consultation, unless you’ve made other arrangements with your doctor.
    • Provide a copy of test results for any family member who’s already had genetic testing.

    This questionnaire may take some time to complete. We recommend starting the questionnaire as soon as you schedule your appointment. Starting early will ensure you have enough time to gather this information and put together an accurate family history of cancer.

    It’s also a good idea to review the most frequently asked questions (PDF) about our genetics program. It talks about what to expect, insurance coverage and other logistics of the genetic counseling process.

    On the day of your appointment, plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time. You will be with us for about an hour, or longer if you need genetic testing.


    We’re located in the DeCesaris Cancer Institute on the first floor of the Donner Pavilion, 2001 Medical Parkway. We offer free parking in Garage B. Please call 443-481-5081 if you need assistance.