Genetic Counseling

Genetic Counselor

As we learn more about cancer, we learn more about how the genes we inherit from our parents can place us at increased risk for various types of cancer. When cancer is diagnosed, it is essential to consider whether family members are at risk, too. Genetic counselors at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center are masters-level trained and certified through the American Board of Genetic Counseling, ensuring qualified professional care.

Our genetic counselors offer consultations to Hollings Cancer Center patients, including individuals who have cancer, individuals who had cancer but are in remission and individuals with a family member previously diagnosed with cancer. Our experienced genetic counseling team can provide recommendations for ongoing surveillance based on results.

What is Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing generally involves drawing a blood sample to look for changes in a person’s genes that may indicate an increased risk for cancer. For those with a cancer diagnosis, genetic testing may also help personalize cancer screening recommendations.

How Can Genetic Testing Help You and Your Family?

  • Understand your risk of developing certain cancers
  • Manage your cancer risk through screening or risk reduction
  • Guide your cancer treatment
  • Assess the impact to your family members

Who Can Benefit from Genetic Consultation?

  • Individuals with cancer who were diagnosed at a younger than average age, usually before age 50.
  • Patients of any age with certain types of cancer, including ovarian, pancreatic and high-risk prostate.
  • Patients who develop more than one cancer. For example, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Individuals with cancer in multiple relatives, particularly on one side of the family.
  • Patients with rare cancers or tumors (such as male breast cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, pheochromocytoma) or individuals with multiple colon polyps.
  • Individuals with a known pathogenic variant or mutation (positive genetic test result) for a cancer susceptibility gene.

How Should You Prepare for Your Visit?

  • Bring your medical records including your cancer history or abnormal biopsy results
  • Gather your family cancer history.  This should include both mother's and father's sides, type of cancer, age at diagnosis and treatment outcomes.
  • If available, Collect lab reports from previous genetic testing that was done in your family.
  • Prepare a list of questions or concerns to ask during your visit.
  • Bring a family member or support person with you to your appointment.

Scheduling an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, please call 843-792-0745. If you have any additional questions please call 843-792-4049.