If you need help understanding the significance of a genetic disorder, Mayo Clinic Health System's genetic counseling services can help you. Our genetic counselor provides information and support, and educates families affected by or at risk for a genetic disorder. Using a comprehensive team approach, you will be seen in Eau Claire to determine the risks of developing certain diseases, as well as screening and preventive treatment.
Our genetic counselor is a specialist with expertise in medical genetics and counseling who is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling Inc. The genetic counselor works with the patient and family at risk for or diagnosed with a genetic condition.
The genetic counselor will:
- Collect and interpret family history information.
- Order and interpret genetic tests.
- Educate about genetic disorders.
- Provide counseling.
- Advocate for the patient and family.
Genetic counseling seeks to give you information you need to make informed decisions about your health. Our genetic counselor will help you understand complex genetic information and the options available for genetic testing. From the explanation of test results to providing an initial emotional and psychosocial assessment, our genetic counselor will be there with you to navigate the complexity of genetic disorders.
Talk to your primary care provider to determine if meeting with a genetic counselor is right for you. If so, your primary care provider will arrange a referral.
Our genetic counselor conducts genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes. A cancer syndrome is a genetic disorder in which inherited genetic mutations in one or more genes predisposes an affected individual to developing cancer or developing the early onset of cancer. Different hereditary cancer syndromes can be associated with different cancers. There are known syndromes associated with female and male breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, colorectal cancer, colorectal polyps, gastric cancer, renal cancer, thyroid cancer, sarcoma, cancer of the brain and nervous system, and others.
What to expect during your appointment
Before meeting with our genetic counselor, you will need to gather as much information as possible about your family's medical history, such as:
- Early-onset cancers (younger than age 50)
- Rare cancers, such as male breast cancer
- Multiple primary cancers
- Multiple relatives on the same side of the family with the same type of cancer
- Relatives with related cancers, such as breast and ovarian
- High-risk testing results on a tumor
- Known familial mutation in a family member
During the appointment, a review of your personal medical history and family health history will be conducted. A family tree, called a pedigree, will be created to document your family history. Based on your family history, our genetic counselor will discuss:
- Your risk of having certain genetic changes or conditions
- Whether genetic testing is indicated
- What your genetic testing options include
- What the testing may or may not tell you
- What the chances are of passing the genetic disorder onto your children
Our genetic counselor will support and guide you on the decision to perform genetic testing and the options best for you. If you choose to proceed with genetic testing, our genetic counselor will discuss and explain the test results to you, and provide guidance on the effects to you and your family.