In a community as culturally diverse as Brooklyn, access to genetic counseling and testing is of particular importance. With this in mind, the Maimonides Cancer Center has established a genetic counseling program to provide residents with an added measure of cancer prevention. The genetics program works toward this goal through clinical research and by providing counseling, testing, and information to the community. With the help of the medical staff, persons identified as high risk can adopt tailored medical management plans to detect cancers at early stages or prevent their occurrence entirely.
What is genetic counseling?
Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to genetic contributions to cancer. How might genetic counseling benefit someone who is healthy, but who has a family history of cancer? A small portion of cancer cases is caused by an inherited susceptibility to develop cancer. Genetic counseling can help identify that risk, and provide tailored direction for cancer screening and prevention.
How might genetic counseling benefit someone who has been diagnosed with cancer?
Cancer patients and survivors who have a hereditary susceptibility to develop cancer are more likely to develop a second cancer, and therefore this information can influence treatment decisions. Genetic counseling can also provide information about the cancer risks and screening recommendations for family members.
If I know that I am at increased risk for cancer, what can I do about it?
Every person should undergo regular cancer screening, but for individuals with a higher risk of developing cancer, it is of particular importance. These individuals should discuss their medical management plan with their physician, or with a specialist such as those at the Maimonides Cancer Center.