The promise of personalized medicine is here.

Prevention is preferable to treatment – and, when it comes to cancer, genetic testing is a valuable, often life-saving tool. An elevated risk for cancer can be inherited through genetic alterations (mutations) which can affect the fidelity of our DNA as it is copied during normal cellular function and division. Those who carry an inherited mutation in a cancer predisposition gene have a higher likelihood for developing cancer during their lifetime.

A consultation with a clinician trained in genetics can provide better understanding of genetic test results and how they can be interpreted in light of personal and family history, as well as tailored risk-reducing and preventative recommendations. A genetic counselor will interpret the results so you can arrive at an informed decision on the steps you want to take to prevent cancer.

The Genetics Program at the Hunt Cancer Institute provides genetic consultations with a licensed genetic counselor. Services include:

  • Interpretation of family medical history
  • Coordination of appropriate genetic testing
  • Interpretation of genetic test results
  • Genetics education
  • Cancer risk-reducing recommendations
  • Testing at-risk relatives
  • Identification of opportunities in genetic research

Who Can Benefit from a Genetic Consultation?

A genetic consult and genetic testing can provide important, useful information, if:

  • You have a personal history of cancer at a young age.
  • You have several relatives with cancer diagnosed at a young age, or more than one relative with the same type of cancer or related cancers (eg/ breast and ovarian cancer, or colon and uterine cancers), regardless of age at diagnosis.
  • You have been diagnosed with two or more types of different cancers, or have a close relative with the same history of two separate cancer diagnoses.
  • You have a personal or family history of rare cancer (male breast cancer, or childhood sarcoma).
  • You have a relative (distant or close) with a known mutation.

How Genetic Testing Works

Typically, a genetics consultation begins with gathering of personal and family history, since this information will be crucial for accurate risk assessment and genetic test results interpretation. Once you contact our Genetics Clinic, we will provide you with forms which will help you gather and organize the details of you and your family's health history. Once you return the questionairre, we will schedule a consultation with our genetic counselor, Raluca N. Kurz, MS, LCGC. During this meeting, the initial risk assessment and genetic testing (if indicated) will be performed. The test itself analyzes DNA obtained from either saliva or blood sample, and it is performed in an independent laboratory independent of Torrance Memorial Medical Center.

The cost of the genetic test is separate from that of the genetics consult, and it is covered by most insurances. Patient's out-of-pocket pay will vary based on individual plan specifics such as co-insurance, co-pay, deductibles, etc. Once genetic test results are available, a second consultation will be scheduled to discuss genetic test results, their implications and provide management recommendations.

Expert Advice

At Torrance Memorial Hunt Cancer Institute our experienced, licensed genetic counselor works with our multidisciplinary cancer team of medical oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, radiation oncologists, and other specialties to provide comprehensive cancer risk reduction and preventive services. In addition to clinical services, our genetic counselor participates in provider and community education about genetics and cancer prevention.

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Dave Hemmah

Fought cancer... with TrueBeam technology