The Breast Center at Lahey Clinic provides high-quality, comprehensive diagnostic care and treatment for benign (non-cancerous) breast conditions and breast cancer. To learn more about evaluation and screening options for individuals at high risk for breast cancer, please visit the Breast Center Web site. As part of the Breast Center, genetic counseling is available to individuals with a personal or family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer that is suggestive of a hereditary cancer predisposition. There are several features of a family history that raise the suspicion of a hereditary breast or ovarian cancer syndrome:
An initial cancer genetic counseling session typically lasts one hour. During this session, a genetic counselor will ask detailed questions about your personal medical history and the medical history of your family members. The family tree (pedigree) is a useful tool for determining the likelihood that the cancer in the family is due to a hereditary cancer predisposition gene. The session will include a discussion of cancer genetics and the purpose of genetic testing, including advantages and disadvantages of pursuing genetic testing. Other topics that are often discussed in the initial session include potential genetic discrimination concerns and current legal protections, risks to other family members and screening recommendations. If an individual decides to pursue genetic testing, a genetic counselor will help facilitate the testing. Follow-up appointments are often necessary to discuss the genetic test results and typically last up to 30 minutes. Visit our General Genetics Information page to learn about basic genetics principles and for information about specific hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes. To schedule an appointment with a genetic counselor, please call 781-744-3982. To learn more, please review the Hereditary Breast Cancer brochure.