Mission Cancer + Blood’s Genetics Clinic includes consultations for adults with a personal history or family history of cancer if recommended by their provider.

Genetic counselors have special training to help you understand the benefits and limitations of a genetic test, as well as which genetic testing is best for you and your family. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing is the use of medical tests to look for certain mutations in a person’s genes. Many types of genetic tests are used today, and more are being developed.

Who should be tested?

You should consider a genetic risk assessment if you have a personal or family history of:

Cancer at an early age: If you have a certain type of cancer at a young age, there is an increased risk of a genetic mutation.  This factor may differ depending upon the type of cancer but often includes individuals diagnosed before the age of 50 with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and renal cancer, among others.

Family history of cancer: Having multiple family members with the same or related types of cancers, or family members with cancers at young ages, could be associated with an inherited predisposition to cancer.

Multiple cancers: If an individual has multiple cancer diagnoses, including two separate incidences of the same type of cancer, a genetic risk assessment could be warranted.

Rare tumors: Some types of cancer, such as ovarian, pancreatic, sarcoma, triple negative breast, male breast, and adrenocortical cancers, among others, are more likely to be associated with inherited genetic mutations.

Metastatic cancers: Women with metastatic, HER2 negative breast cancer, and men with metastatic prostate cancer are at increased risk of having an inherited mutation compared to individuals with cancers that are not metastatic.

Ancestry: Individuals with cancer and certain ancestries, such as those with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, are potentially at increased risk of having a genetic mutation.

What happens at a genetic counseling appointment?

The initial genetic counseling appointment can last from 30 to 90 minutes, and medical/family history will be reviewed. At this time patients may wish to continue with testing, decline testing, or return home and take some time to make a decision. A blood sample could be collected on the same day for genetic testing. You’ll also discuss your concerns about cancer and options for genetic testing and/or cancer screening.

 Is the appointment covered by my insurance?

Many insurance companies cover this service. We will be happy to discuss this further with you prior to your visit.


To contact our genetics counseling team call 515-237-7094. Their fax number is 515 235-8372.