Family History

Your family history is important factor in your risk for cancer. If you or someone in your immediate family has had cancer, you may consider genetic screening.

Genetic screening is a personal choice that can help inform you as you make choices about your and your family’s health.

During genetic screening, a geneticist investigates your probability of developing cancer by closely examining your personal and family history and reviewing a specialized blood test.

If you have one or more of these personal or family history characteristics, you should talk to your doctor about genetic screening:*

  • Breast cancer before age 50
  • Bilateral breast cancer or two primary breast cancers
  • Two or more breast and/or ovarian cancers in the family
  • Male breast cancer
  • Jewish ancestry and family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Colorectal cancer before age 50
  • Endometrial cancer before age 50
  • A history of 20 or more non-cancerous colon polyps
  • Two or more related cancers
    • Breast/Ovarian
    • Pancreatic/Melanoma
    • Colon/endometrial (if these cancers occur in addition to ovarian, other GI, liver, or renal cancers, Lynch Syndrome should be considered)
  • A known cancer gene mutation in the family

Scientists have only discovered a handful of cancer genes and it is possible that a genetic change exists in your family that cannot be detected by current testing methods. It is also possible that even with a family history of cancer, you may not have inherited that specific gene change. If no genetic change is found, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will live cancer-free. Likewise, if you are found to have a genetic change, it is possible that you may not develop cancer.

If you do learn you are genetically at risk for cancer, your geneticist will help you understand and address your particular level of risk for cancer, and will work with you to determine how you might use your test results to make future decisions for you and your family, such as preventative lifestyle changes, early detection methods or pretreatment options.

Genetic testing may be covered by some insurances; however, Louisiana law restricts the use of genetic information by insurers and employers, and prohibits discrimination based on the results.

To make an appointment with our certified geneticist, call (225) 237-1600.