Genetic counseling is the education of patients or their families about the risk of passing on an inherited predisposition for certain disorders, or the risk of having a certain disorder themselves.

For example, five to ten percent of all cancer has been shown to have a hereditary or familial link. Genetic counseling is designed to help identify patients at risk for cancer and other disorders due to hereditary factors.

Genetic counseling focuses on knowledge and prevention. Family history can give patients a good idea of their risk for developing certain conditions, including:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Huntington disease, and
  • Other hereditary disorders

The point is not to dwell on things that can't be changed, but to take positive steps to control the things that can.