Most cancers happen by chance and the cause is often unknown. However, 5-10% of all cancers are hereditary. Hereditary cancer is caused by a genetic change being passed on through the family. Individuals who inherit the genetic change have an increased likelihood for developing cancer compared to people in the general population. A careful review of your personal and family history will help determine whether cancer might be hereditary in your family.
Risk Factors for Hereditary Cancer
Having a family member with cancer does not automatically mean that you are in a high-risk family. The majority of cancers are not hereditary, but occur because of a chance combination of many different factors. You may benefit from an appointment in the Cancer Genetics Program if your personal or family history includes any of the following risk factors:
An appointment in the Cancer Genetics Program will provide you with a full review of your personal and family history.
Genetic counseling identifies patients and families at increased risk for hereditary cancer, in order to promote awareness, early detection and cancer prevention.
Genetic counseling includes several steps and may require more than one appointment. Typically, your genetic counselor will:
Having genetic counseling does not obligate you to have genetic testing. A genetic test is not useful for everyone. Your genetic counselor can address your questions and help you determine if testing is right for you. Genetic testing usually requires a simple blood draw. Most insurance plans cover the cost of genetic testing when testing is appropriate for an individual based on their history.
Preparing for Your Appointment
Your genetic counselor can help you make informed, personalized decisions about your health care. A little preparation will help you get the most out of your appointment in the Cancer Genetics Program. You may not have all the details, but the more information you can share, the more your genetic counselor can help.
Appointments are available in Ann Arbor and Brighton. Before scheduling an appointment, we must have a referral on file from your physician. Your physician can obtain the proper referral form from by calling 734-712-2978.
Meet Our Team
Sommer Hayden, MS, CGC
Lindsey Blakely, MS
Kathleen Beekman, MD
Questions? Contact us at 734-712-2978