Genetics Counseling

Genetic Counseling Services for Cancer Patients and Their Families

Genetic counseling is offered by the Disney Family Cancer Center to guide cancer patients and their family members who are concerned that they may be at higher risk for certain cancers because of an inherited gene. For example, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation are two of the most well known, and substantially increase the risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Our program, led by an expert in cancer and genetics, Ora Karp Gordon, M.D., provides genetic testing, counseling and referral for both patients and family members. Dr. Gordon assists individuals by interpreting their genetic test results and assessing their cancer risk, as well as offering compassionate counseling on options for modifying cancer risk through diet, exercise, surgery and other techniques.

Although the causes of most cancers are unknown, experts estimate that about ten percent of most cancer types are related to inherited genes. People with an inherited cancer-causing gene change, have a 50/50 chance of passing the gene to each of their children.

Genetic Studies can Assist Families with Hereditary Cancers

"Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer oftentimes question if their daughters or their sisters are at risk, too," says Richard Friedman, M.D., a gynecological oncologist. He points out that Dr. Gordon's genetics expertise now helps his patients - and their families.

The Disney Cancer Center offers staff who can review family histories to help patients and their families understand more about what they might face. That kind of information is crucial in making preventive health decisions. Genetics studies not only answer questions for family members, but can assist physicians in determining the best courses of treatment.

Dr. Gordon also is involved in clinical research, focused mainly on prevention. A large part of her research is related to breast cancer and the BRCA gene mutations, but also includes other hereditary cancers, including some colon, uterine and pancreatic cancers, as well as endocrine tumors.

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