Is there a known, inheritable disease in your family? Has a close member of your family (mother, sister, grandmother) experienced breast cancer? Are there a number of cancer incidences among your relatives? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you could be at risk for a hereditary disorder and might benefit from genetic counseling. Southampton Hospital’s Certified Genetic Counselors, Gwen Goldstein, MS and Linda Buttice, MS, are available to explain the process and your options if an inherited genetic condition is identified.
The process begins with an in-depth, confidential discussion of your personal and familial medical history. During this first visit, you will learn more about the science of genetic testing, and any questions and concerns you may have will be answered. You may decide after one appointment that you would like to proceed with testing, or you may need additional meetings and phone calls to decide. Be assured, you determine how long it takes to reach a decision to pursue testing or not.
Once you’ve made the decision that a genetic test is right for you, follow-up phone conversations and appointments are encouraged. In many cases, your health insurance will cover the cost of testing.
Next, your results will be reviewed with you, addressing any additional questions you may have. All information and your consultation will be confidential. If you wish, our Genetic Counselor is also available to meet with people close to you and with your physician. Should your results suggest medical follow-through, your counseling will include personalized recommendations for future health management. Depending on your situation, you may be referred to other medical professionals.
When to consult a genetic counselor
- Carrier screening (cystic fibrosis for people of European background, sickle cell anemia for people of African American background, and alpha-thalassemia for people of Southeast Asian background)
- Known genetic condition in the family
- Personal or family history of birth defects (cleft lip, cleft palate, congenital heart defect)
- Multiple miscarriages
- Medication/drug exposure during pregnancy
- Infertility questions
- Personal or family history of cancer (breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, melanoma, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer)
- Personal or family history of dementia, movement disorder, and neurodegenerative conditions