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Genetic Counseling

Determining genetic risks to inform medical decision-making

Genetics are the instructions for how our bodies grow and function. These instructions are written in our DNA. Changes, or mutations, in our genetics can cause health problems. Some diseases, like influenza, are not caused by a genetic mutation passed down in the family. Others, like certain cancers or heart rhythm diseases, can be caused by genetics.

What is genetic counseling?

Genetic counseling is a medical service for people who might have a genetic risk in their family. Genetic counselors use their extensive training to figure out what patients are at risk and what testing might be recommended.

Who should consider genetic counseling?

People with the following could consider genetic counseling.

Certain cancers

  • Family history of multiple cancers, especially if they are the same type of cancer
  • Personal or family history of pancreatic, colon or ovarian cancer
  • Personal history of metastatic prostate cancer
  • A child with a diagnosis of a sarcoma
  • Personal or family history of breast or uterine cancer diagnosed before the age of 50, or male breast cancer at any age

Pregnancy and family planning

  • Plans to become pregnant or currently pregnant
  • Three or more miscarriages


  • A family history of a known genetic condition
  • Physical differences (such as unique face characteristics, birth defects or growth differences), especially when paired with other medical issues
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Early-onset diseases that normally happen later in life (like hearing loss)
  • A personal history of multiple uncommon health concerns
  • Moderate to severe intellectual disability

How can genetic counseling help me?

Genetic counseling may provide a diagnosis or risk for genetic conditions. Genetic diagnoses can sometimes help patients access certain treatments or screenings and change medical management. Risk to family members may also be informed by genetic testing. Genetic counselors can help people figure out if genetic testing is right for them and provide more information about the process, benefits, risks and limitations of genetic testing.

Aspirus St. Luke's does not require a referral for this service. To see if your insurance company requires one, call the number on your card.

This service is available at these locations.

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