Your First Visit

The following information will help you prepare for your first visit with the genetic counselor.

Preparing for Your First Visit

Is there anything I can/should do before my appointment?

Your doctor has referred you for hereditary cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling to discuss your personal and/or family medical history.  So that the genetic counselor can accurately evaluate your family history, we are asking you to fill out a questionnaire and bring it to your genetic counseling appointment. Your answers are private, secure and provide important information that enriches communication between you and the genetic counselor.

How do I find all the information to complete the Genetic Risk Assessment Questionnaire?

Please give yourself time to complete the questionnaire. You may find it helpful to talk to your family members to find out as much medical information as you can about your family history.

To speed up the process of completing the questionnaire, it may be helpful to gather information (current age or age at death, and general health history) on your family members.  Specifically, we will ask about your immediate family members, including your parents, siblings and children. We also want to know about your extended family members, including your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, on each side of your mother and father’s family.

For family members who have had cancer, you will need to obtain the following information:

  • Type of cancer (e.g., breast, colon, ovarian, etc.)
  • Age cancer was diagnosed
  • Current age. If deceased, age and cause of death (may or may not be from cancer)
  • Clarify whether the cancer was unilateral (e.g., one breast) or bilateral (e.g., both breasts)
  • Clarify whether the family member with cancer developed a second cancer. If yes, it is important to try to clarify whether the second cancer was a metastasis (spread from the first cancer), or a new primary cancer (new separate cancer)

Correct information about the types of cancer in your family is very important in assessing cancer risk. It may also be helpful to locate medical records from family members who had cancer. These records include pathology reports of tumors, surgical reports and hospital discharge summaries regarding their cancer course.

We understand you may be unable to collect all the information about your family history of cancer. Genetic counseling will be based on the information that you provide. The following documents provide more information about how to gather family information:

What do I need to bring to my first appointment?

Once you have completed the questionnaire, you are ready for your appointment. Please bring the questionnaire to your appointment along with any copies of medical records (including genetic test results, pathology reports, etc.) if you have them.

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