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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Genetic counseling

Before and after genetic testing at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), you may have a counseling session.

During your genetic counseling session, we will help simplify the complex concepts into terms you can understand. The goal is to provide clear information about genetic risk factors and address your questions and concerns. Participating in an introductory education session does not obligate you to have genetic testing done.

If you wish to pursue genetic counseling and testing once you leave the hospital, we will try to help you find someone close to home.

Psychological benefits and risks of genetic testing

Genetic testing poses psychological benefits and risks. A negative result can bring a sense of relief and reduce some of your worry and anxiety. It may also eliminate the need for more frequent checkups and tests that are routine in individuals with a high risk of cancer.

A positive result can help relieve uncertainty and help you take steps to reduce the risk of recurrence or of developing another cancer. At the same time, a positive result can also cause some anxiety. You may experience feelings of guilt if you learn that you are positive for a gene mutation and that you passed this mutation onto an offspring.

However, it’s important to remember that testing positive for a gene mutation is not a guarantee of developing cancer. Some people who test positive for a mutation never get cancer.

Supportive resources

Your entire care team is available to address all of these dimensions of genetic testing. For instance, the mind-body medicine and pastoral care teams can help you cope psychologically with the results of genetic testing. The nutrition team can also help you maintain your nutritional well-being to boost your immune system and reduce the risk of recurrence.