Genetic Testing & Genetic Counseling

What is Genetic Testing?

  • Genetic testing is a type of medical testing that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder.
  • Do you have a family history of ovarian, breast, colon, or endometrial cancer? Learn about genetic testing today. Download this informational brochure created by T.E.A.L.®.
  • Want to learn more about your cancer risk? Take this hereditary cancer quiz to help you determine whether you should be further evaluated for either Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome or Lynch syndrome.

Basser Center for BRCA

The Basser Center for BRCA at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center is the first comprehensive center for the research, treatment, and prevention of BRCA-related cancers. Devoted to advancing care for people affected by BRCA gene mutations, the Basser Center’s unique model provides funding for collaborative research, education, and outreach programs around the world.

What is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic Counseling can help determine if a person or family has an increased risk for developing certain cancers, like ovarian cancer. Most cancers happen by chance, but some are caused by an inherited genetic factor, a gene, that is passed down within a family.

For example: the inherited genetic mutations in BRCA1/BRCA2 and Lynch Syndrome genes can lead to a significantly increased risk for ovarian cancer.

Find a Genetics Counselor in your area through the National Society of Genetic Counselors:


What Can I expect to Happen in a Genetic Counseling Appointment?

In a genetic counseling session you can expect a genetic counselor to:
  • Review you and your family’s medical history
  • Help assess the likelihood of a hereditary cancer in your family
  • Review the best options for genetic testing
  • Discuss the implications of genetic test results, as well as options for cancer management that include screening and prevention

Who Should Consider Genetic Counseling? 

Consider Genetic Counseling and Testing if the following risk factors apply to you:

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

  • Increasing age, with highest occurrence in women after 50
  • Personal or family history of ovarian, breast, endometrial, or colon cancer
  • Uninterrupted ovulation (having no pregnancies, infertility, low parity)
  • Presence of gene mutations, especially in BRCA1, BRCA2, or Lynch Syndrome gene
  • Ashkenazi Jewish heritage with a personal and/or family history of breast or ovarian cancer

Risk Factors for Other Cancers

  • Two or more persons on the same side of your family been diagnosed with cancer before age 30
  • Two or more closely related people in your family had the same type of cancer
  • Anyone in your family has had multiple primary cancers
  • Anyone in your family has had rare or unusual types of cancer (like male breast cancer)