Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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Assess Your Risk

Cancer Genetics Program

The genetic counselors, medical oncologists and medical geneticists of our Cancer Genetics Program are available to:

  • Conduct a comprehensive cancer-specific genetic evaluation, including a review of family history and risk assessment
  • Provide individualized cancer screening recommendations
  • Outline cancer risk-reduction options and offer referrals to high-risk clinics
  • Coordinate genetic testing when appropriate and explain implications of genetic test results
  • Offer up-to-date information on cancer-related research opportunities

Our goal is to prevent cancer or, should cancer occur, to detect it as early as possible through a specialized screening plan.

Contact the Cancer Genetics Program to schedule an appointment for your personalized risk assessment at 312-926-2000.

Hereditary Cancer

Cancer is fairly common in the general population. Most cancers are not related to inherited factors. However, some individuals have a greater chance of developing particular cancers due to an inherited gene alteration that may run in their family.

To learn if you might benefit from a consultation with the Cancer Genetics Program, consider the following questions:

  1. Does cancer seem to run in your family?
  2. Were you or a family member diagnosed with cancer before the age of 50?
  3. Have multiple family members had the same or related types of cancer?
  4. Have you or any of your relatives had more than one cancer diagnosis?
  5. Are you of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, have relatives that have a known cancer-related gene mutation, or if you are concerned about hereditary cancer risk, please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

 If I meet with a genetic counselor, am I required to have genetic testing?

No. Even if genetic testing is offered, you can decline and still receive recommendations for ongoing management based on your personal and family history.

 How should I prepare for my appointment?

A genetic counselor may contact you prior to your appointment to collect information (type of cancer, age at diagnoses, etc.) about your family’s health history. If available, it may be helpful to bring family members’ medical records or results of previous genetic testing.

 Will my insurance cover the cost of genetic testing?

Each insurance company has different policies regarding who is eligible. If you choose to have genetic testing, we will ensure that you are informed about any potential out-of-pocket costs. The cost of genetic testing is separate from other fees related to the appointment.

 Can genetic test results affect my ability to get or keep health insurance?

Federal law prohibits health insurance companies and employers from discriminating based on genetic information. Per the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, they cannot raise rates or deny coverage based on genetic test results.

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