Genetic Counseling

The Cancer Genetic Program at the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute offers genetic risk assessment to individuals who may be at risk for a hereditary cancer syndrome based on their personal and/or family history of cancer. The experts at the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute offer detailed assessments of inherited cancer risks, education and the opportunity for genetic testing when appropriate.

Patients concerned about their cancer risk meet with a healthcare professional specializing in cancer genetics for an in-depth discussion about their likelihood of carrying a hereditary predisposition to cancer, available tests, implications of test results for themselves and their family, early detection and prevention options and other relevant personal concerns.

Who may benefit from genetic counseling?

  • Patients whose cancer was diagnosed at a young age (before age 50)
  • Multiple relatives with the same cancer
  • Individuals with a rare cancer (e.g.: male breast cancer)
  • Individuals with two or more primary cancers
  • Individuals with features related to a cancer syndrome (e.g.: multiple colon polyps)
  • Relatives of a person known to carry a mutation

How does the program work?

Individuals interested in cancer counseling will meet with a genetics counselor who will ask them to complete a medical and family history questionnaire. This questionnaire is reviewed by the counselor who will determine cancer risk assessment. Screening and testing for specific cancers may then be prescribed. All cancers involve changes in genes, called mutations. Most cases of breast and ovarian cancer are due to mutations that happen randomly.  However, sometimes breast and ovarian cancers run in families and are referred to as hereditary cancers. Inherited gene mutations for breast and ovarian cancer are most often found in the genes named BRCA1 and BRCA2 (breast cancer genes 1 and 2).

A genetic counselor can help the patient understand the cause of the condition; assess the risk of having children who might be born with the condition; and educate the patient about current research and testing procedures. In addition, the genetic counselor may put the patient in touch with community resources. 

To make an appointment or for more information on cancer genetic counseling, please contact us at 516-734-8850.

Last Update

July 12, 2011
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