Skip to main content Skip to home page

Oncology Genetic Counseling

Genetic counselors are individuals specially trained to help patients understand and adapt to the personal and family implications of genetic contributions to disease. Deaconess Cancer Services is home to the only oncology genetic counselor in the region.

Who might benefit from meeting with an oncology genetic counselor?

Individuals with a personal and/or family history of:
  • Early-onset cancers, usually diagnosed before age 50
  • Cancer in two or more first-degree relatives on the same side of the family (maternal or paternal history)
  • Multiple primary tumors (more than one type of cancer in one individual)
  • Bilateral tumors (affecting, for example, both breasts or both ovaries)
  • A relative who is a known carrier of an inherited cancer gene
Can patients have genetic counseling without genetic testing?

Yes. A patient can still learn information about personal and family cancer risks in addition to suggested cancer screening surveillance. The risks, benefits and limitations of genetic testing need to be carefully considered. Our genetic counselor can help navigate this process.

Will insurance companies cover genetic testing?

Genetic testing can be expensive and may be covered in many circumstances. Medical and family histories are important factors that help determine coverage. Some insurance policies have exclusions regarding genetic testing and in this circumstance testing will likely not be covered. Other insurance policies have additional criteria which need to be met prior to genetic testing. Our genetic counselor will work with the testing lab to help determine coverage and financial assistance options.
GINA is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act that was passed into federal law in 2008. GINA provides protection against discrimination from health and employment coverage based on genetic information. GINA’s protections do not extend to life insurance, disability insurance or long-term care insurance. GINA also does not mandate coverage for any particular test or treatment.

Scheduling an appointment

Health care providers can provide a referral for a consult with our certified and licensed oncology genetic counselor. To request more information, you may contact the Women’s Cancer Center at 812-858-2273 option 1, option 3.
Top Back to top