Researchers are constantly making advances into understanding and detecting links between specific genetic alteration, or mutations, and the higher risk for developing certain types of cancer, heart disease or other conditions. These mutations and the associated risks can be passed through families. Knowing this information can lead to increased screening and monitoring of patients at higher genetic risk, to potentially diagnose these conditions early, when they are most easily treated. This information can also provide many with options to reduce their risk of developing the disease.
Patients who are most appropriate for genetic counseling are generally those with a strong personal or family history of disease.
As an example, those with a strong personal or family history of cancer would include:
- Cancer at a young age of diagnosis
- Multiple types of cancer in one individual
- Rare forms of cancer
- A family history of similar cancers