Cancer can happen to anyone. But some people face a higher risk for certain cancers due to genetic abnormalities that are passed down in families (hereditary cancer). Cancer genetics experts at the Cancer Institute help you learn more about your risk and what we can do to preserve your well-being.
People from all over the region put their trust in our team at The Gregory and Lorraine Harper Cancer Risk and Genetic Assessment Program. We provide trusted guidance that helps you face your future with confidence.
Roughly 1 in 10 people with cancer have hereditary cancer, which is passed down in families. The Cancer Institute’s cancer genetics services, which include cancer risk assessments and genetic testing, help us determine whether you are at risk. We may even be able to prevent cancer from developing.
Cancer risk and genetic assessment services at Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute
Cancer genetics services available through The Gregory and Lorraine Harper Cancer Risk and Genetic Assessment Program include:
- Genetic counseling: Our board-certified genetic counselors specialize in cancer genetics. We explain your risk for hereditary cancer and help you determine whether genetic testing is right for you. We are one of few programs in the region offering this service. Learn more about genetic counseling for cancer.
- Cancer risk assessments: Our genetic counselors ask questions about your individual and family health history to determine your risk for hereditary cancer. We explain which cancers you may be at risk for and how likely it is for these cancers to develop. Get more information about a cancer risk assessment.
- Genetic testing: Using a sample of your blood, we check for problems in your genes (mutations) that may cause hereditary cancer. Learn more about genetic testing for cancer.
Cancer risk and genetics clinic for women at risk for breast cancer
We deliver focused care to women with an increased risk of breast cancer, including those whose genetic testing results serve as a risk factor.
At our high-risk breast cancer clinic, you meet with a nurse whose expertise includes genetics and breast cancer.
We may recommend:
- Additional genetic testing to check for new signs of mutations that can lead to a breast cancer diagnosis
- More frequent breast cancer screening tests (mammograms) to catch the earliest signs of breast cancer
What is genetic counseling?
Our board-certified genetic counselors specialize in cancer. We detect and explain your risk for cancers that are passed down in families (hereditary cancer). Having these genes doesn’t always lead to a cancer diagnosis. Many people do not develop cancer. Talking with our genetic counselors is one of the first steps to learn more. Genetic counseling helps you:
- Learn more about the likelihood of developing cancer through a cancer risk assessment
- Determine whether it would help to go through genetic testing for cancer to get more information
- Understand what assessment and test results mean for your health
- Plan for future care needs, which may include regular cancer screenings, such as a mammogram for breast cancer
Hereditary cancer expertise
We stay current with cancer genetics research and see more than 600 new patients each year. This level of expertise means you receive recommendations that are based on the best available information and tailored to your needs.
Support from genetic counselors
We care as much about your peace of mind as we do your cancer risk. Our genetic counselors clearly explain test and assessment findings. We answer any questions you may have. We also help you cope with any anxiety or concerns you may be experiencing related to your cancer risk.
Team approach to cancer care
If there is a cancer diagnosis, our genetic counselors are available to you throughout your cancer care journey. We work alongside other Cancer Institute providers in teams called tumor boards where we plan every step of your treatment. This approach helps many people achieve excellent results.
Do I need genetic counseling for hereditary cancer?
Genetic counseling can help you if you have:
- A diagnosis of cancer at a young age or a diagnosis of a rare form of cancer, including ovarian cancer or sarcoma
- Several family members who developed cancer
- Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry
- Known risk factors for hereditary cancer (hereditary cancer syndrome)
Your information is safe with us: Confidentiality at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN)
Your medical information, including results from cancer risk assessments and genetic testing, are your personal property. We do everything necessary to protect it. We will not share your information unless you ask us to do so.
Paying for cancer risk assessments, genetic testing and genetic counseling
Our services are often covered by insurance. Call your insurance provider to learn more about your benefits. If you need help paying for these services, our financial coordinators are available to discuss your options. Learn more about Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute financial coordination services.
Call for an appointment
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call The Gregory and Lorraine Harper Cancer Risk and Genetic Assessment Program at Lehigh Valley Health Network at 610-402-8787, or call 888-402-LVHN (5846).