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Anyone with questions about their possible risk of developing cancer may benefit from genetic counseling.  Most cancers are not inherited, but some are. Working with a genetic counselor can help you understand your individual cancer risk as well as provide information for relatives. Most people seeking cancer genetic testing have either a personal or family history of cancer.

You might consider genetic counseling and testing if you or a close family member has a history of the following:

  • Early onset cancer (under age 50, for example breast or colorectal cancer under age 50)
  • A diagnosis of ovarian, pancreatic, metastatic prostate, or male breast cancer at any age
  • More than one occurrence of cancer in any part of the body
  • Multiple colon polyps (10 or more, or early onset)
  • Multiple relatives with the same or related types of cancer on the same side of the family
  • Rare types of tumors/cancer such as pheochromocytoma, paraganglioma, and medullary thyroid cancer 
  • A mutation in a known cancer predisposition gene

If you need a better understanding of the genetic tests results you have already received from your healthcare provider, you are welcome to receive genetic counseling to review those results at Atlantic Health System.

Genetic counseling is also available to individuals who underwent testing in the past but wish to review updated genetic testing options (multi-gene panels).

What is involved in a genetic counseling appointment?

The genetic counselor will review your medical history, family history and draw a family tree. She will tell you the chances that the cancer in your family is hereditary and who in your family may have an increased risk for cancer. The genetic counselor will also review the pros and cons of genetic testing and options for cancer screening and risk reduction.  She will also discuss genetic discrimination laws with regards to health and life insurance.  Our genetic counselor will arrange genetic testing for those who choose to pursue it and discuss insurance coverage and potential out of pocket expense.

Genetic testing is not a required part of the genetic counseling consultation and may not be appropriate for everyone. You can still learn valuable information about cancer risk management from a genetic counseling visit without undergoing genetic testing. The decision to have a genetic test is a personal choice that can be made during the genetic counseling appointment or at a future date.

Will my insurance cover genetic counseling and testing?

The genetic counseling consultation and genetic testing are separate charges. We work with most major insurances for the initial consultation. We will also work to find a lab that accepts your insurance for genetic testing.  When you schedule a genetic counseling appointment, we will send you more detailed information about our billing process.

What will the results mean for me and my family?

Depending on the results of a genetic test, we can offer screening recommendations to help detect cancer at an earlier stage and review options for preventive care, including risk-reducing surgery. If you have received a diagnosis for cancer, a genetic test result can help your physicians develop a personalized treatment plan for you. Genetic testing can also give you opportunities to participate in research and clinical trials, and can provide information about cancer risk to relatives, including children, siblings, or parents.

Our genetic counselors are part of a multi-disciplinary team involving social workers, dietitians, nurse navigators, and other healthcare providers. We can also help connect our patients to local and national support groups. 

To make an appointment for genetic counseling at any of our locations, please call 973-971-6672.  


Chilton Medical Center

Morristown Medical Center

Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion – Rockaway

Overlook Medical Center

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