Genetic Counseling and Testing

Genetic counseling is a service provided by Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s with the primary goal of determining whether or not an individual is at an increased risk for cancer, and if so, what cancers. During a one-on-one meeting with our certified genetic counselor, you will receive a personalized cancer risk assessment based on personal and familial history with cancer. Your counselor will also talk to you about cancer screenings, prevention and genetic testing options.

Genetic Counseling for Breast Cancer

The most common and well-known genes linked to breast cancer are BRCA1 and BRCA2. These two genes are responsible for fighting off cancer, but mutations can cause them not to function properly and increase an individual’s risk for breast cancer. In the last several years, additional genes have been found to be linked with breast and other cancers. Patients can now request to have a larger gene panel tested to help gain a more comprehensive understanding of their risks. 

Risk of Developing Breast Cancer 

General population of women  12 percent 
Women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation  60 - 80 percent

High Risk Breast Program

During every screening mammogram at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s, women are given the opportunity to learn more about their personal risk of developing breast cancer through a personalized breast cancer risk assessment. Any woman who is found to have at least a 20 percent chance of developing breast cancer may be eligible for the High Risk Breast Program. These women can meet with our genetic counselor to further discuss their breast cancer risk, the possibility of having an inherited cancer and the option for genetic testing.

Request an Appointment 

A one-hour session with our certified genetic counselor includes a comprehensive risk-assessment and is covered by most insurance.


Amy Stoddart, MS, CGC
Certified Genetic Counselor



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