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Colon Cancer Genetic Testing - What Is Genetic Counseling?

Information from genetic testing can have a profound impact on your life. Genetic counselors are trained to explain the test and its results, but you make the decision about whether to have the test. A genetic counselor can help you make well-informed decisions. Ask to have genetic counseling before making a decision about testing. Genetic counseling can help you and your family:

  • Understand medical facts, including what causes diseases, how a diagnosis is made, and what you may be able to do to help you manage a disease.
  • Understand how your family history contributes to the development of a disease.
  • Understand what you can do to help prevent colon cancer or a recurrence.
  • Learn about caring for a family member who has a genetic disease, including getting referrals to specialists or joining support groups.

Genetic counselors are trained to help you and your family make informed decisions. They are sensitive to the physical and emotional aspects of these decisions. Your privacy and confidentiality are carefully protected.

Recommended Related to Colorectal Cancer

Who is at Risk?

For the great majority of people, the major factor that increases a person's risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing age. Risk increases dramatically after age 50 years; 90% of all CRCs are diagnosed after this age. The history of CRC in a first-degree relative, especially if before the age of 55 years, roughly doubles the risk. Other risk factors are weaker than age and family history. People with inflammatory bowel disease have a much higher risk of CRC. A small percentage (<5%) of CRCs...

Read the Who is at Risk? article > >

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 27, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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