Skip to main content

The Ochsner Cancer Center of Acadiana Cancer Genetic Counseling Program is a new frontier in the fight against cancer. The program provides genetic counseling and testing to people at increased risk for hereditary cancer and helps them to make informed medical decisions based on their own personal cancer risk. These interventions can have a huge impact on a person’s life by allowing them to better manage their health and reduce their risk of ever developing cancer. The program is a component of the Ochsner Cancer Center of Acadiana at Lafayette General Medical Center, designated by the Commission on Cancer as a comprehensive cancer center.

The clinical team in the Ochsner Cancer Center of Acadiana Cancer Genetic Counseling Program is committed to providing a comprehensive plan to help assist patients and their families with all aspects of the risk assessment and testing process, surveillance, surgical decision-making, and follow-up care. The entire process consists of a minimum of two one-hour visits to the counseling center.

About our Program

Who can benefit from our program?

Individuals who have a personal and/or family history that includes any of the following may benefit from our program:

  • Multiple relatives on the same side of the family with the same cancer or related cancers, such as breast, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, colon, uterine, ovarian, melanoma.
  • Cancer at unusually early ages (for example breast cancer, colon cancer, or uterine cancer younger than 50)
  • More than one diagnosis of cancer in the same individual (for example breast and ovarian cancer in one person or colon and uterine cancer in one person)
  • Rare cancers (for example male breast cancer or medullary thyroid cancer)
  • A family history of a known altered cancer-predisposing gene

Our program consists of two genetic counseling appointments. The first is the formation of a family history pedigree and genetic counseling session that is expected to take one approximately hour. The second is the results session and is expected to take 30 minutes to one hour. What takes place during these sessions is as follows:

Appointment #1

Family/Medical History

The more information you can provide, the more accurate your counseling will be. We can collect some of the following information after your first session; however, it would be ideal for you to collect it before your first appointment. A family history form will be provided to you for completion prior to your first appointment.

A detailed family history and personal medical history is taken that includes information on all family members, particularly your brothers, sisters, parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins, with or without a cancer diagnosis. The information that is collected at this appointment includes: ages, ages at death (if deceased), primary sites of cancer (if appropriate), ages of cancer diagnosis (if appropriate), genetic diseases, birth defects, and ethnic background.

If you have had a cancer diagnosis, please bring a copy of your pathology reports to your appointment if they are available. If you or a relative has had genetic counseling or testing it is important that we have a copy of these test results prior to your first appointment.

Genetic Counseling

The first appointment includes a detailed discussion of:

  • The likelihood that the cancers in a family are hereditary.
  • Which genetic test, if any, would be most appropriate.
  • The risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing.
  • Available screening and risk reduction options.
  • A blood draw if testing is chosen (if you plan to have your blood drawn, please be well-hydrated and wear warm clothing).


Appointment #2

Result Disclosure

Those individuals who decide to have testing will have a second appointment to learn their test results in person. This appointment includes a detailed discussion of:

  • The meaning of results for the individual and other family members.
  • Options/recommendations for future cancer detection and risk reduction based on results.
  • Following the last appointment, a detailed letter is written that summarizes the information discussed at both appointments. We will copy this letter to your health care professionals, at your request. You may wish to bring a support person to this appointment.