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Genetics & Cancer

Medical discoveries have expanded our understanding of the relationship between cancer and genetics. We know that certain cancers such as breast, colon, ovarian, melanoma and pancreatic are more likely to run in families, and we can test for those genetic links. Knowing your cancer risk factors, including genetics, can make an astounding difference in your future health.

Not all cancers are hereditary. However, you should consider genetic education and/or testing and counseling if your family history includes:

  • Multiple cases of cancer, especially breast, colon, ovarian, uterine, melanoma, pancreatic or prostate in the family.
  • Individuals with more than one cancer.
  • Cancer at an unusually early age.
  • A known genetic abnormality in the family.

Answers for Peace of Mind

Hall-Perrine Cancer Center’s genetic counselors help patients assess, understand, and reduce their risk of developing cancer. Services available through the genetics program include:

  • An assessment of personal cancer risks
  • Cancer risk management strategies
  • Early detection procedures
  • Treatment options available
  • Emotional support

Why consider cancer genetic counseling? Identifying risks for developing cancer can lead to prevention, early detection, appropriate care, management and a longer, healthier life.

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Special Considerations

Insurance
Considerations about insurance coverage, confidentiality and genetic decimation are discussed thoroughly during your initial consultation. Many health plans now cover genetic testing. Once it is determined that testing is appropriate and desired, we can work with you and the lab to gather information about coverage. We will also provide you with information on legislative protections in place to assure that employers or insurance companies do not discriminate based on genetic test results.

Confidentiality
Mercy treats all genetic information with strict confidentiality. Each client is assigned a genetics program number. Genetic risk assessments, medical information and test results also are kept separate from your permanent medical record. No one will have access to this information without your written consent.

For more information about the Cancer Genetics Program at Mercy, call Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, call Kate Durda, CGC, at (319)398-6265 or email kdurda@mercycare.org.

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