Genetic Counseling

An expert local resource

While environmental and lifestyle variables have been linked to the incidence of some types of cancer, heredity also plays a role in determining who is most susceptible to certain forms. Along with screening enhancements that are leading to earlier detection of cancer, there have been advances in the science of determining who may be at heightened genetic risk.

For those with signs of a predisposition for specific types of cancer, we provide convenient access to supportive, compassionate genetic counseling, state-of-the-art testing and all of the information needed to make informed medical care decisions.

Who should seek genetic risk counseling?

Patients are typically referred for genetic counseling by a primary care physician or a specialist based upon their individual medical history and/or family history. An in-depth hereditary cancer risk assessment is usually recommended for those with one or more of these indicators:

  • Personal for family history of
    • Cancer diagnosed before age 50 (breast, ovary, colon)
    • bilateral cancer
    • male breast cancer
    • uncommon pathology (e.g. lobular breast cancer, sarcoma)
    • multiple siblings or subsequential generations affected
    • breast or ovarian cancer with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
    • known family history of genetic mutation
    • constellations associated with hereditary cancer syndromes
  • breast, ovary
  • gastrointestinal, ovary, uterus
  • breast, uterus, thyroid
  • brast (lobular), stomach
  • sarcoma, brain

The risk assessment process

  • Every aspect of genetic counseling and testing is elective and confidential.
  • If you proceed with counseling, you are not obligated to undergo genetic testing.
  • All information that you provide, as well as results of any tests and analyses, is securely shared only with select medical professionals involved in your care.
  • If you choose to move forward with risk assessment and need supplemental coping support, we will provide a referral to a qualified social worker or therapist.

Counseling by supportive professionals

At an initial genetic counseling session an experienced, a certified professional will:

  • Gather information about your medical history and several generations of your family history
  • Explain the latest advances in cancer genetics in clear, understandable terms and review both the benefits and limitations of genetic testing
  • Answer any questions you may have
  • Order genetic testing

Genetic testing

Deciding whether to have genetic testing is a personal choice. You can consent immediately at your counseling session or take some time for consideration, speak with family members who may be impacted by your choice and schedule at a future date. If/when you decide to move forward:

  • Painless, non-invasive diagnostic testing can be completed at Mountainside Medical Center.
  • When test results become available, a follow-up meeting with your genetic counselor will be scheduled to review and interpret them.
  • Based upon your results, you may be referred for a consultation with a physician specialist who is board-certified in the study and treatment of the specific type of cancer involved in your case. The specialist will explain preventive and early intervention options.

To arrange a Genetic Counseling appointment or to learn more about the Hereditary Cancer Assessment Program, please call 973-259-3555.

If you are calling for an appointment, you will be asked to provide to your name, phone number, address, insurance information and referring physician's name (if applicable).