Female provider showing tablet to female patient

Finding Out Your Risk for Hereditary Cancer

If you’re worried about hereditary cancer, here are the steps you can take to determine your risk.


Gather information about your family’s health history. Learn more


If your family has a history of risk factors linked to hereditary cancer, schedule a risk assessment with a genetic counselor. Learn more


If your risk assessment shows that you’re a candidate for genetic testing, decide if genetic testing is right for you. Learn more


What is a Genetic Counselor?

A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional with advanced training in medical genetics. They are qualified to support patients who seek more information about inherited conditions, interpret lab results and help patients make an informed decision about healthcare conditions.

Who Should Speak With a Genetic Counselor?


People who have one or more risk factors for hereditary cancer should speak with a genetic counselor. The genetic counselor will ask a series of questions to help figure out if you may be a candidate for genetic testing. Genetic counselors are specially trained health professionals who specialize in genetic diseases.


Some of the risk factors for hereditary cancer are:

  • One or more relatives with cancer under age 50
  • One or more relatives with more than one primary cancer (multiple cancers that originate in different places in the body)
  • Two or more relatives with the same type of cancer
  • A relative who is a known carrier of an inherited gene mutation
  • Concern about your family history of cancer

If you have a risk factor for hereditary cancer, a genetic counselor can help you decide if genetic testing is an option for you. During the assessment you’ll talk about the likelihood inherited cancer runs in your family, as well as your own risk for cancer based on your family history. Your genetic counselor will discuss ways you may be able to reduce your risk. Depending on your situation, the genetic counselor may recommend a genetic test (usually a blood draw or saliva sample) to gather more information.


Concerned that hereditary breast cancer might run in your family?

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