Cancer Genetic Counseling Program

Although most cancers occur by chance, in some individuals cancer develops because of a genetic susceptibility that runs in the family. The Cancer Genetic Counseling Program in Mount Sinai's Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences helps families to understand their personal and/or family history of cancer, evaluates the likelihood of a hereditary cancer susceptibility in the family, and coordinates genetic testing for individuals who choose this option. Our team consists of expert Board Certified cancer genetic counselors and medical geneticists in the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences.

Who is a candidate for cancer genetic counseling?
All individuals with questions about their risk of developing cancer may benefit from genetic counseling. Genetic counseling may be particularly helpful for individuals with:

  • More than one family member with the same or related types of cancers (e.g. breast and ovarian cancer or colon and uterine cancer)
  • Personal and/or family history of early-onset cancer
  • Personal and/or family history of rare cancers (e.g. male breast cancer or fallopian tube cancer)
  • Personal and/or family history of more than one cancer in the same individual
  • A close relative found to have a mutation in a cancer gene
  • A desire to better understand genetic test results they have already received

What is involved in the genetic counseling process?
Usually there are two office visits: an initial 1-2 hour consultation and a shorter follow-up visit for those who undergo genetic testing. During your visit, the genetic counselor will:

  • Review your medical history
  • Review your family history and draw a family tree
  • Tell you the chances that the cancer in your family is hereditary
  • Identify who in your family may have an increased risk for cancer
  • Review information about the genetics of cancer predisposition
  • Review the pros and cons of genetic testing
  • Review options for cancer screening and risk reduction
  • Arrange genetic testing for those who choose to pursue it
  • Provide information about ongoing research studies for those who are interested
  • Identify other resources for interested patients (e.g. other healthcare professionals or support groups)

Please note that genetic testing may not be appropriate for everyone, and it is not a required part of the genetic counseling process. Individuals who do not pursue genetic testing can still learn valuable information about cancer risk management from a genetic counseling visit.

Will my insurance cover genetic counseling and testing?
The charges for genetic counseling and genetic testing are separate. We participate with most major insurances for the consultation. We will attempt to find a lab that participates with your insurance.

Additional links and information:
To learn more about why genetic counseling may be beneficial to you or if you are a physician and would like more information about referring to our program, read our fact sheet “Why Should I Have Genetic Counseling?” [PDF].

One’s family history is a valuable tool for estimating the likelihood of a genetic susceptibility to cancer in a family. To help you gather and organize family history information, read our Family History Questionnaire [PDF].

Contact Us

schedule an appointment

Tel: 212-241-6947
Fax: 212-860-3316

The Mount Sinai Health System
1428 Madison Ave (at 99th Street)
Atran Building, 1st Floor
New York, NY 10029

Mailing Address:
Division of Medical Genetics
Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences
One Gustave L. Levy Place
Box 1497
New York, NY 10029-6574

9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday

For billing questions, please call:
Tel. 212-987-3100