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Ask the Pro - Genetic Counseling


Ask the Pro - Genetic Counseling

Ashley Migliaro, MS, CGC

Genetic Services, CaroMont Health

One of the best ways to determine your risk for cancer is through genetic counseling and testing. Ashley Migliaro, Certified Genetic Counselor at CaroMont Health, explains who should take advantage of this service.

Q: How do I know if I should get genetic counseling?

A: If you have a personal or family history of cancer, meeting with a genetic counselor can help you and your family understand your inherited cancer risk. A personal or family history may include, but is not limited to, early onset cancer, multiple cancers or multiple relatives having the same type or related cancers. Your family history is one of several factors that may influence your risk for cancer. A genetic counselor can help determine if genetic testing is necessary for you or your family, coordinate testing and explain results.

When the results for a genetic test come back, a genetic counselor will discuss risk management recommendations, such as heightened surveillance, prophylactic surgery or chemoprevention. He or she will also discuss health next steps for family and future generations. A genetic counselor may also make a referral to a specialist to help manage inherited risk.

If someone undergoes genetic testing and has a positive test result, it means that they have inherited a harmful mutation. This doesn't automatically mean that he or she will develop cancer. Instead, it means that an individual is at an increased risk of developing cancer, especially early onset cancer or more than one type of cancer. Identifying those at risk promotes awareness, early detection (through earlier and more frequent surveillance) and cancer prevention.

CaroMont Health Genetic Services is offered to patients and their families as part of our comprehensive model of patient-centered, personalized care at the CaroMont Cancer Center. To learn more about Genetic Services, please click here to download our brochure or call 704.671.5300 to schedule an appointment.

Categories: Q&A