Genetic risk assessment

Learn your inherited risk of cancer with genetic services from Montage Health. This valuable information can help you and your family make informed healthcare decisions to protect your well-being.

Genes and cancer

Up to 10 percent of cancers result from a genetic mutation—a mistake in a person’s DNA. Mutations can pass down from parents to their children. Certain genetic mutations may increase your risk for different cancers.

Risk assessment and counseling

You’ll receive a short, simple questionnaire about your personal and family cancer history if you receive a referral from your doctor for genetic counseling.

If your answers suggest an increased risk for hereditary cancer, you’ll meet with our genetics nurse practitioner for one-on-one genetic counseling. Expect to assess your risk factors further and discuss genetic testing.

Genetic testing

A genetic test checks for inherited DNA mutations that increase your cancer risk. You’ll provide a small sample of your saliva or blood, and we’ll send it to an offsite lab for evaluation. Two to four weeks later, our genetics nurse practitioner will call you to explain your results and next steps.

Benefits of genetic services

If you have cancer, genetic information can help you make decisions about treatment and understand your risk for cancer recurrence or other cancers.

If you don’t have cancer, but your hereditary risk turns out to be higher than average, you and your doctor will make a personalized care plan to:

  • Reduce your risk of the disease with measures such as:
    • Healthy lifestyle changes
    • Medications (chemoprevention)
    • Surgery, like preventive mastectomy
  • Increase the likelihood that if you develop cancer, doctors will find it early through:
    • Additional cancer screenings, such as breast ultrasound or breast MRI in addition to annual mammograms
    • More-frequent screenings, starting at a younger age

Early detection means you can receive timely treatment to improve your long-term outcome.

Family involvement

Whether you carry a gene mutation or not, we offer genetic services to your family to assess their risk. Talk to our genetics nurse practitioner about scheduling an appointment with your loved ones. They may learn how to detect cancer at an earlier stage or prevent the disease from developing.

Insurance coverage

Most insurance plans cover genetic counseling and testing. Call your insurance provider for details about your coverage.

Project DNA

With support from Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, a Monterey doctor started Project DNA, a nonprofit organization to:

  • Educate doctors and our community about screening for inherited cancers
  • Screen people who are at higher risk for inherited cancers

Learn more about Project DNA on their website.

Talk to your doctor

Ask your doctor if Montage Health’s genetic risk assessment program is right for you. For information about genetic services, call (831) 622-2764.