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
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 questionnaire, 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.
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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