Skip to Content
Also part of the UPMC family:

Cancer Genetics Program

The Cancer Genetics Program offers cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling to help determine if your personal or family cancer history is due to an inherited susceptibility. Genetic counselors work closely with specialists at the Breast Cancer Program and the Gynecologic Cancer Program to ensure you receive individualized, comprehensive care.

Based on the information you provide, our genetic counselor will:

  • discuss your risk of developing breast cancer or gynecologic cancer and will
  • determine if you meet criteria for genetic testing.
  • provide information about cancer screening and management of hereditary cancer risk

Who the Cancer Genetics Program Helps

People who are concerned about their personal or family cancer history may benefit from genetic counseling. The program helps you and your physicians make informed decisions about your health care based on risk assessment and, in some cases, genetic test results.

  • If you have been recently diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancer, then your surgeon or oncologist may refer you to the Cancer Genetics Program to aid in developing a treatment plan or to provide information about future cancer risks for you and your family members.
  • If a family member has been recently diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancer, then you may schedule an appointment with counselors at the Cancer Genetics Program to determine if your family history puts you at risk for developing one of these cancers.

The program may also be helpful for:

  • people who have been diagnosed with any cancer prior to the age of 45
  • people with two or more close relatives on the same side of the family with the same or related cancers diagnosed before the age of 50
  • people who have had more than one type of cancer
  • people with rare types of cancer
  • families that have a known cancer gene mutation

Based on the risk assessment and the counseling session, screening guidelines will be reviewed and genetic testing may be offered.

Your insurance may cover your genetic counseling and subsequent screening and testing. Insurance companies typically determine coverage on a case-by-case basis.

Your Appointment at the Cancer Genetics Program

To make an appointment, or for more information, call 1-800-454-8156.

Before your appointment

  • You will need to gather information about your family and its medical history related to cancer
  • You may need to provide medical records to further develop your risk assessment

Your genetic counselor will use this information to develop a family tree, which will be used to assess your cancer risks.

During your appointment

During your appointment you will meet with one of our board-certified/eligible genetic counselors for 60 to 90 minutes to review your cancer risks, based on the information you provided.

Your counselor will discuss:

  • how inherited and environmental factors may cause cancer in you or your family
  • genetic testing (a simple blood test), including the risks, benefits, limitations, and costs
  • your cancer screening options
  • available research studies
  • how cancer risks may affect you and your family

Your genetic counselor will provide information about services and specialists, which may include:

  • cancer screening
  • surgery consultation
  • cancer prevention experts
  • gynecologic cancer and breast cancer consultation
  • social workers
  • nutrition experts

Additional Information

To learn more about BRCA, the gene mutations that are linked to the development of certain types of cancer, please visit the Risk Assessment section of our Young Women's Breast Cancer FAQs page.

Cancer Genetics Program

Learn more about cancer genetic counseling and get the basics about genetics and inheritance with regard to risk assessment and genetic testing in the video below.