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Your Visit

What can you expect from
a genetic counseling visit

  • Detailed analysis of your personal and family medical history to assess risk of hereditary cancer.
  • Discussion of whether genetic testing and which genetic tests may be an option for you or your family to consider.
  • Discussion about possible benefits, risks and limitations of genetic testing as they may pertain to you and your family.
  • Coordination of genetic testing, if this is chosen. Deciding whether to have genetic testing is a personal choice that can be made at the time of the genetic counseling visit or at a future date.
  • Discussion of genetic test results and what results mean for you and your family.
  • Discussion about options for managing cancer risk. This discussion may cover such areas as cancer screening and/or risk-reducing strategies. 
  • Discussion about risk to family members based on family history and/or genetic test results.
  • Written summary of the genetic consultation(s) and test results. 

Preparing for your Genetics appointment

  • Sign up for MyChart
  • If you or any relatives have already had genetic testing for hereditary cancer risk, please provide us with the genetic testing laboratory report prior to your visit. 
  • Complete and return the health and family history questionnaire prior to the appointment. Genetic counseling and risk assessment will be based on the information that you provide. We understand that there may be limited or unknown history information for some relatives or for some families.
  • We will ask about current age or age at death and health history (especially including cancer history) for blood relatives from several generations, including at least parents, siblings (including full siblings and half-siblings who share one similar blood parent) and children. We will also ask about your aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents for each side of the family.  We understand that there may be limited or unknown history information for some relatives or for some families.
  • It may be helpful to locate and include medical reports from family members who had cancer, such as the oncology (cancer doctor) summary note, surgical reports and pathology reports.

More about a genetic counseling appointment

  • For on-site visits, your appointment will be held at Upstate Cancer Center (link to directions). You will receive an appointment letter with directions where to go once you arrive at the Cancer Center. 
  • For the visit, you are welcome to bring a family member or friend with you to your appointment (see current visitor restrictions due to COVID)
  • The initial genetic counseling visit usually lasts about 1-2 hours.
  • The appointment is for genetic counseling. We understand that not all patients choose to have genetic testing. If you decide to have testing, this can be done on the day of the visit or at a future date.
  • If you choose to have genetic testing, follow-up genetic counseling will be arranged to discuss your test results.

Billing and Insurance

If you have questions about billing or health insurance, please contact our billing office at 315 464-2000 or visit the Upstate billing website.

Will insurance cover genetic testing?

Genetic testing that is medically indicated is most often covered by health insurance and is billed through a genetic testing laboratory outside of Upstate Cancer Center. This may depend on the insurance and what genetic testing is chosen, which will be discussed at your genetic counseling appointment.   In general, the cost of genetic testing has significantly declined over the years. Several of the genetic testing laboratories offer financial assistance and/or self-pay options.          

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