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Norris Cotton Cancer Center
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FAQs

Why did my physician refer me to the Familial Cancer Program?

Your doctor recognized some features about your personal and/or family history which raised concern about inherited risk factors for cancer. It is important to determine if you or your family members have genetic risk factors in order to help determine the best way to manage your health care.

What I can expect at the appointment?

During your visit, the genetic counselor or medical oncologist will review your family medical history, and help you understand the role of genes in causing cancer. We will perform a cancer risk assessment and discuss what, if any, genetic testing may be appropriate. We will also give you a general estimate of your personal cancer risks and discuss appropriate screening and prevention for you and your family. Please allot 1-1.5 hours for this visit.

Is my appointment covered by insurance?

In general, if you have coverage to see a specialist, you will have similar coverage to be seen in the Familial Cancer Program.

What do I need to do before the appointment?

We ask that you complete the personal medical history and family history forms that will be sent to you once you have scheduled an appointment. Correct information about the types of cancer in your family is very important in assessing cancer risk.

Is genetic testing recommended for all patients?

During your cancer risk assessment, we will help you decide if genetic testing is right for you or your family. It is best to begin genetic testing with a family member who has had cancer or a precancerous condition that suggests susceptibility to cancer. We will discuss who the best person in your family is to consider genetic testing. If you are found to be the best candidate in in your family for genetic testing and are interested, 1-2 tubes of blood can be drawn at the conclusion of your appointment. You do not need to be fasting.

How much does genetic testing cost?

The cost of genetic testing ranges from $200 - $4,000 or more, based on the specific test ordered. We will determine the specific genetic test that is recommended for you and discuss the cost of testing prior to ordering any genetic testing. Most insurance companies cover the cost of genetic testing, if medically indicated. The laboratories that we use for genetic testing will assist us in obtaining prior-authorization for genetic testing from your insurance company. You will have an opportunity to cancel your test if your out of pocket cost is over $100.

How long will it take to get my genetic test results?

Depending on the test ordered, results may be available as quickly as 2 weeks, or may take up to 3 months. We will discuss with you the estimated length of time it will take the lab to analyze your sample based on the test ordered. We will call you as soon as your test result becomes available. You will be asked to schedule an in person follow-up appointment if your test result is positive or complex.

How is genetic testing going to affect my insurance?

There are current state and federal laws (Genetic Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)) that prohibit discrimination in health coverage and employment on the basis of genetic information. GINA prohibits health insurers or health plan administrators from requesting or requiring genetic information of an individual or the individual’s family members, or using it for decisions regarding coverage, rates, or preexisting conditions. The law also prohibits most employers from using genetic information for hiring, firing, or promotion decisions, and for any decisions regarding terms of employment. GINA’s employment provisions generally do not apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees. GINA’s health coverage non-discrimination protections do NOT extend to life insurance, disability insurance and long-term care insurance. If you wish to purchase life insurance, or change an existing policy, we recommend that you do this prior to coming to your appointment.

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