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Genetic Counseling and Testing

Many factors affect your risk of getting cancer. These include age, gender, family history, lifestyle and environmental exposures, as well as other variables. 

Knowing your level of cancer risk allows you to make healthier choices. WCHN offers many options for risk reduction and increased surveillance for people at risk for cancer.  Ways to reduce your risk include committing to a healthier lifestyle, taking medications, or sometimes having surgery. Increased surveillance (such as mammogram, colonoscopy or ultrasound) helps us identify any cancer that occurs as early as possible.  Catching cancer early means less treatment for you and a quicker return to your daily life.

Our Western Connecticut Health Network board-certified genetic counselors can look at your personal and family history and tell you if your cancer risks are elevated.  For some cancers, genetic testing can help us determine risk.  Your genetic counselor will help you understand what factors influence your risk and what steps you can take to reduce your risk for cancer.

If you or a close relative meets any of the following criteria, you should consider genetic counseling.

Any of the following cancers under age 50:

  • Breast cancer or DCIS
  • Colon cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Sarcoma

Any of the following cancers at any age:

  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and family history of any breast or ovarian cancer
  • Bilateral breast cancer
  • More than one cancer diagnosis
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • 10 or more colorectal polyps
  • Strong family history of breast, colon, pancreatic or gynecologic cancer
  • Hereditary cancer syndrome identified in a family member
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • Adrenocortical carcinoma
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Paranganglioma
  • Wilms’ tumor
  • Retinoblastoma

Our Western Connecticut Health Network board-certified genetic counselors specialize in cancer risk assessment. A genetic counselor will discuss the risks, benefits and limitations of genetic testing. The choice of whether or not to proceed is yours. We are here to help you make informed decisions about genetic testing and follow-up cancer screenings.

To learn more or determine if you might benefit from genetic counseling, please call 203-739-4958.