At the Genetic Counseling Clinic at Porter Adventist Hospital's patients meet with Melissa Gilstrap, a trained genetic counselor. She conducts a personal cancer and/or genetic risk assessment for each patient and coordinates genetic testing, as needed. The information gained from genetic counseling and/or genetic testing can help individuals and their families make medical decisions about how to manage their risk for cancer and/or other genetic diseases.
At your appointment, you will discuss your cancer and/or genetic risks, as well as, your risk of having a genetic condition in your family. If genetic testing is warranted and you would like to proceed with testing, we will work with the lab and your insurance company to see if testing will be a covered benefit. If testing will be covered, you will proceed with either a blood draw or saliva collection and will be asked to return to the clinic when your results are available. If you receive genetic counseling you are under no obligation to pursue genetic testing and may take as much time as you need to decide whether genetic testing is right for you. Note: If your family and personal history meet certain criteria specified by your insurance company, you may proceed with a blood draw immediately after your initial consult.
Genetic Counseling Services
Through the Genetic Counseling Clinic, we offer three distinct types of services:
Cancer Risk & Hereditary Cancer
Cancer risk assessments and genetic counseling for hereditary cancer syndromes are provided to individuals who have a personal and/or family history of cancer. Indications for cancer risk and hereditary cancer genetic counseling are discussed in detail on the Cancer Risk section of the web site.
General Genetic Counseling
General genetic counseling for genetic conditions other than cancer is provided through the Genetic Counseling Clinic.
General genetic counseling may be right for you if:
- You have been diagnosed with a genetic disease and would like to learn more about your condition
- You have a family history of known genetic conditions
- You are concerned about your family history of specific conditions
- It has been recommended that you receive a genetic test and you would like to learn more
Screening for Hereditary Disorders
Preconception Genetic Counseling and Carrier Screening are available for individuals who are planning pregnancy in the future or who are pregnant and wish to undergo screening for genetic disorders.
Preconception genetic counseling may be right for you if:
- You are at risk for genetic diseases, birth defects or miscarriages
- If you are interested in screening for common genetic disorders, like Cystic Fibrosis (carrier screening)
- You are age 35 or older at the time of planned delivery
- You have experienced multiple pregnancy losses (three or more miscarriages)
- You had a previous child with a birth defect
- You had a previous child born with a chromosomal abnormality
- You have a family history of mental retardation
- You had a prior fetal/neonatal death or stillbirth
- You are found to have a chromosomal alteration or is a translocation carrier