If you come to the Division of Clinical Genetics for genetic counseling and testing, our medical geneticists and genetic counselors will work with you through every step of the process, from the initial consultation to developing a cancer prevention plan.
Each testing process starts with a consultation with a Board-certified genetic counselor or a certified medical geneticist, a physician who is specially trained in genetics and cancer genomics. Through an extensive evaluation of your personal and family history, along with lifestyle factors, these experts will determine whether genetic testing is right for you.
If you would like to undergo genetic testing, talk with your oncologist or primary care physician, and they will be able to refer you to the Division of Clinical Genetics. You can also check with your insurance provider to see if you’re able to schedule an appointment with our medical geneticist without a physician referral. If so, you can schedule an appointment with us directly.
Most insurance companies cover the consultation with our medical geneticist and genetic testing. However, it is important to check with your insurance provider before scheduling an appointment with the Division of Clinical Genetics.
You may have a consultation and undergo a genetic cancer risk assessment if you have certain characteristics that point to an increased risk for developing cancer These characteristics may include being diagnosed with:
- Breast cancer before age 50
- Male breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Endometrial cancer before age 50
- Colorectal cancer before age 50
- Kidney cancer before age 50
- Having aggressive prostate cancer
- Multiple colon polyps before age 50
- A rare tumor, such as pheochromocytoma, paraganglioma, diffuse gastric cancer or neuroendocrine tumors
Your family history may also indicate a higher risk of cancer. You may consider genetic testing for hereditary cancer risk if you have:
- A family history of kidney cancer.
- Two or more family members on the same side of the family who have been diagnosed with the same cancer or multiple types of cancer.
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.
- A family history of a known genetic mutation.
When you come to the Division of Clinical Genetics for an evaluation, you will meet with a certified genetic counselor or with a medical geneticist. We will talk through your personal medical history and your family medical history, which we will ask you to provide before the meeting.
We will also be sure to discuss the different types of genetic testing and the options available to you, as well as the risks and benefits of testing. Together, we will determine whether genetic testing is right for you and, if needed, whether your family members should undergo counseling and testing, as well.
If we think you may benefit from genetic testing, we will take a blood or saliva sample from you. This sample will be sent to a lab where it is tested for genetic mutations. Once the tests are done, the results are sent back to Miami Cancer Institute’s Division of Clinical Genetics.
Genetic test results usually take between two and six weeks.
Once your results are ready, you will meet with the geneticist, who will go over the results with you and answer any questions you may have. Test results may be positive for the presence of a genetic mutation, which increases the risk for cancer, or they may show that no genetic mutation exists in the genes that were tested. Results can also come back inconclusive. We’ll discuss your options based on your test results.
If your results show the existence of a genetic mutation known to increase your risk for cancer, we will talk with you about preventive steps you can take. Working closely with you and your doctors, we can develop a plan to reduce your risk for developing cancer or a secondary cancer. The plan will be based on current recommendations from National Comprehensive Cancer Centers and may include additional screenings, lifestyle changes and preventive surgeries. We will also discuss who should consider having genetic testing in your family and how genetic test results may affect medical recommendations for your family members. You will also be invited to follow up once a year so we can answer any of your questions and discuss preventive measures you may be taking.
These results show there is not a genetic mutation in the genes that were tested. This doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for cancer, as many other factors play into cancer risk. We will give you information about reducing your cancer risk by improving your health overall.
If your genetic test results are inconclusive, it means there’s not enough current scientific evidence to accurately categorize your cancer risk and make specific prevention recommendations based on your genetic test results. But, we will follow up with you over time since your result will be reinterpreted by the laboratory as new scientific information becomes available.
Under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), your genetic information, revealed through genetic testing, cannot be used against you in determining health insurance coverage or employment. This law, however, does not protect against denial of life insurance or disability insurance coverage. For more information, read this information sheet.
Meet the Team
At Miami Cancer Institute’s Division of Clinical Genetics, we offer individualized genetic risk assessment and testing from a team of certified genetic counselors and medical geneticists. This expertise, combined with the latest software and technology, allows us to provide comprehensive genetic analysis for each patient.
If a patient undergoes testing with our Center, the geneticist and genetic counselors will collaborate closely with the referring physician and patient on next steps in treatment or prevention, so we can strive for the best possible outcomes.
Physicians should refer patients directly to the Division of Clinical Genetics, rather than ordering the genetic test directly. The Division of Clinical Genetics team will meet with patients to assess their medical history and determine the best test for them.
Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida’s Physician Connect service gives healthcare providers quick access to our team of experts. Learn more about referring a patient or call Physician Connect at 786-596-1444 or 954-837-1444 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. , Monday through Friday.
At Miami Cancer Institute’s Division of Clinical Genetics, we have a consultation-based genetic testing process. This means that patients meet with a genetic counselor or a medical geneticist before undergoing any tests. During this clinical assessment, we will talk through the patient’s personal and family medical history and explain the different types of genetic tests available. If we feel the patient will benefit from testing, we will take a blood or saliva sample for the genetic test. Results are given in a follow-up consultation by the genetics team where preventive recommendations for the patient and family members are discussed.
If you would like to access the most up to date version of NCCN guidelines focused on genetic risk assessment, please visit the National Comprehensive Cancer Network website: