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Genetic counselors at the UF Health Breast Center in Jacksonville provide cancer genetic counseling services to patients with special circumstances, including breast or other cancer diagnoses at a young age and/or a strong family history of cancers (usually including two or more individuals with cancer). Our counselors help ensure high-risk individuals are seen by the proper physicians to help manage their risk. They are also able to provide comprehensive counseling services when a diagnosis is known.

  • Sarah Khan
    Genetic Counselor

Genetic counseling: Goals

Genetic counseling takes place between you and your medical team. It helps you to understand your risk of developing breast cancer due to a variety of factors.

  • Genetic counseling can assist you or your family in understanding risk factors for breast cancer and what it means for your health. Risk factors can include personal risk factors as well as genetic risk factors that can be passed through families — called BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations — which cause an increased risk of cancer for all family members.
  • This information can help you understand medical management options to reduce cancer risk and help choose a plan that is most appropriate for you and your family members.
  • In many cases, genetic testing can be ordered to ascertain if the cause of cancer in the family is genetic, which can help determine medical management options.

Genetic counseling: Who is a candidate for testing?

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend genetic testing for people who are diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age, 50 years of age or younger. It also recommends genetic testing for the following:

  • Women with triple-negative breast cancer before age 60
  • Women with breast cancer and a family history of breast cancer in a close blood relative before age 50
  • Women with breast cancer and a family history of ovarian cancer in a close blood relative
  • Individuals with breast cancer and also a personal history of other cancers
  • Women with ovarian cancer at any age
  • Men with breast cancer
  • People who don’t have cancer but have a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer at a young age, or family history of multiple other cancers
  • Family members with a known cancer susceptibility gene should all undergo counseling and possible testing
  • High-risk populations such as women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with family or a personal history of breast and ovarian cancer should be tested regardless of age

Genetic counseling: Will the results increase my insurance?

The federal law GINA, or Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, prohibits discrimination based on the results of genetic testing. This means that insurance companies cannot raise your premiums, or drop clients based on genetic testing results. These results cannot be considered a preexisting condition and employers or schools cannot discriminate against a person based on genetic testing results.