Why is a Risk Assessment Important?

  • Genetic counseling includes a detailed review of the individual’s personal and family medical history. It includes a discussion of risk based on the family history. There are many As genetic information may also impact other family members a discussion of how depending on the results of genetic testing other family members may also be recommended to consider genetic testing is part of the genetic counseling discussion.
  • The personal and family implication of the results of the genetic testing including positive, negative (uninformative), negative (true negative) and variant of uncertain significance (see below).
  • The psychological considerations of learning one’s genetic test results
  • The risk of passing a genetic mutation (if one is present in a parent) to children
  • Whether genetic testing is indicated and
  • Unlike most other medical tests, genetic tests can reveal information not only about the person being tested but also about that person’s relatives. The presence of a harmful genetic mutation in one family member makes it more likely that other blood relatives may also carry the same mutation. Family relationships can be affected when one member of a family discloses genetic test results that may have implications for other family members. Family members may have very different opinions about how useful it is to learn whether they do or do not have a disease-related genetic mutation. Health discussions may get complicated when some family members know their genetic status while other family members do not choose to know their test results. A conversation with genetics professionals may help family members better understand the complicated choices they may face.
We do not inherit cancer – we can inherit an increased risk for cancer.