Mayo Clinic genetic counselor discusses genetic counseling

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 5:57 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - World Cancer Day is Feb. 4.

Health experts with Mayo Clinic Health System say it’s important to know if you’re at risk for cancer, which includes knowing your family history.

Genetic counseling provides individualized information based on personal and family medical history. Genes play a role in nearly all areas of your health.

One medical expert at Mayo Clinic says it’s important to get cancer screenings.

“Screening is the most important thing when it comes to cancer detection and even prevention. Without screening, most people present after they’ve already started having symptoms or their cancers advanced to the point where they are majorly affected by it. When we say on top of our screenings, we have a much higher chance of catching that cancer earlier or potentially even preventing a cancer depending on kind of what the screening show,” Breanna Mitchell, Mayo Clinic Genetic Counselor, said.

Mitchell says genetic counseling can help estimate your risk for developing cancer.

“About 10% of cancers are considered hereditary or have a single specific genetic component that can be tested and increase a person’s risk for developing cancer,” Mitchell said. “Genetic counseling and genetic testing can help determine which category a person’s individual or family cancer falls into. It also can help estimate your risk for developing cancer.”

According to a media release from Mayo Clinic Health System, if you are battling cancer, genetic testing can help your care team make recommendations for treatments and surgical procedures.

“The results also can help other family members,” Mitchell said. “Potentially, your children, siblings, nieces and nephews could have inherited the same gene mutation. Knowing this information can help them establish early screening schedules and make healthy decisions about their lives.”