Story by: Sara Thompson on November 10, 2021
What is genetic counseling for cancer, and can it help me? Read on for more about getting genetic counseling after a cancer diagnosis.
Genetics is the study of traits or conditions passed through the family. Genetic counseling helps you form a better picture of your own health and potential health risks for you or your family. A genetic counselor uses your personal and family health histories to figure out how likely it is that you or a family member may have a genetic condition, including cancer. The genetic counselor may suggest further testing or refer you to a specialist. From there, the genetic counselor can help you understand your test results and talk about treatment options. The genetic counselor also can make recommendations for your family members and meet with them if they are local. Meeting with a genetic counselor can be done via telehealth from the privacy and comfort of your own home.
There are benefits for the whole family, regardless of the outcome of genetic testing, including:
Like other health care organizations, Norton Healthcare has developed a robust and secure telehealth program. Telehealth means care provided online or sometimes over the phone. Video appointments are conducted from your laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone. Similar to an in-person doctor visit, you will get reminders and notifications for your appointment.
Related: If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, here are questions to ask
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Your medical records can be uploaded to Norton MyChart through secure technology that complies with privacy laws. If testing is ordered by the genetic counselor, you may be able to send a saliva sample in through a lab-provided testing kit. Blood tests are available and can be done at certain locations. Further counseling can be done via telehealth.
The cost of testing itself is often, but not always, covered by insurance. Cost is determined by your insurance policy and medical history. Your counselor will review the cost of genetic testing with you prior to ordering testing. You can choose to be informed of the amount you will pay before agreeing to have the test performed.
While some cancers have a genetic link, your risk of developing most cancers — especially colon cancer — can be reduced through healthy eating, regular exercise and early screenings.
A Norton Telehealth visit is a convenient, safe way to meet with a genetic counselor. A telehealth visit is billed the same way an in-person doctor visit would be billed, so check with your insurance provider if you are unsure about the cost of an office visit.
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