Hereditary Cancer Services

Hereditary Cancer Services

Genetic Testing and Counseling for Cancer

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If cancer runs in your family, you may consider genetic testing to determine your cancer risk. If you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or colon cancer, knowing whether this cancer is inherited can direct your treatment decisions. It may also affect your loved ones’ health in the future.

Genetic testing can alleviate fears in people who find they do not carry specific gene changes that may lead to cancer. It can also be a lifesaver. By arming yourself with knowledge about your cancer risk, you can make important decisions about screening, treatment, and preventive surgery, which may reduce your cancer risk and cancer’s impact on your life.

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Comprehensive Evaluation

Includes a thorough review of your medical and family history, as well as a complete physical examination. Your evaluation may also include advanced imaging and diagnostic tests to determine the extent of your condition.

Risk Assessment and Genetic Testing

We test and provide a comprehensive risk assessment for dozens of hereditary cancers, including breast cancer and ovarian cancer (including the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations), and colon cancer. The genetic testing may involve saliva samples or blood work to look for the presence of genes or genetic mutations that may signal a predisposition to a hereditary cancer.

Post-Test Counseling

We work closely with you to help you understand the results of your genetic tests as well as the emotional, psychological, and social implications. We help you plan the appropriate next steps, from a regular screening plan to treatment recommendations that include diagnostic and treatment options, including medical therapy and preventive surgery.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Why Choose Duke

Specially Trained Genetic Cancer Counselors
Our board-certified genetic counselors are specially trained in medical genetics and counseling. They become your ongoing support resource for information about the risks and benefits of genetic testing, the consequences of knowing test results, and ensuring your genetic information remains private and confidential.

Preventive Measures
We help you make informed decisions that will reduce your cancer risk and ensure you understand the importance of screening for early detection. Depending on your condition, we may recommend a regular screening program, lifestyle changes, and/or preventive surgery.

A Network of Cancer Researchers
We work closely with researchers nationwide to better understand inherited cancers and to develop new tools for estimating cancer risk.

Access to Clinical Trials
You may be eligible to participate in clinical trials that may lead to new and improved ways to treat cancer and help identify people who may develop cancer in the future.

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Telemedicine Options
We provide telemedicine sessions (similar to Skype) for patients in Henderson and Laurinburg, NC. We also work with outreach clinics in Virginia and Florida.

No Referral Needed
If you would like to speak with a genetic counselor, we’ll do our best to schedule you as soon as possible. If you already have an appointment at the Duke Cancer Center, your genetic counselor may arrange to see you the same day you are seeing your radiation or medical oncologist.

Ongoing Support
We offer access to national and international support groups for hereditary cancer syndromes through our cancer support programs. View all of our cancer support groups on our event calendar.

Among the Best Cancer Hospitals in U.S.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital's cancer program is ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.