Many health conditions and cancers have a genetic or hereditary component and for some conditions genetic testing via a blood or saliva sample is available. Genetic testing can clarify a diagnosis, provide guidance regarding appropriate surveillance, and can identify family members who may be at risk.
At the Center for Advanced Digestive Care, genetic services are provided by a team of two master's level genetic counselors and an MD-PhD geneticist. Genetic counselors are health professionals trained to interpret medical information for patients and to gather appropriate personal and family history information in order to assess genetic risk. During a typical initial genetic counseling visit a three to four generation family tree, or pedigree, will be drawn and pertinent health information will be collected. It is helpful if patients can speak to their relevant family members ahead of the visit to clarify the patterns of health problems in their family members.
If it is determined that there may be a hereditary predisposition to cancer in the family then genetic testing may be available and a genetic counselor can explain the benefits and risks of testing. Genetic counselors can organize the testing, and convey results.
A Medical Geneticist can go one step further and look for physical clues of a cancer predisposition syndrome such as unusual skin pigmentation, large head size and other benign but informative features. This additional data can suggest other, more uncommon syndromes that may not have been originally suspected.
Some findings that may suggest a hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome are: young age at onset of cancer, multiple individuals in the family affected with the same cancer or an associated cancer - for instance in Lynch syndrome there may be multiple individuals with either colorectal and/or uterine cancer in the same family. In Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) affected individuals often have both malignant and benign tumors in multiple endocrine organs.
Genetics Services Staff:
Steven Lipkin, MD, PhD is a board certified Medical Geneticist with a focus on genetic testing for gastrointestinal diseases, including the Lynch Syndrome, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, Hemochromatosis and Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer among others. He is an authority on cancer genetic syndromes, with a particular emphasis on hereditary Gastrointestinal cancer syndromes. Dr. Lipkin trained in Internal Medicince at Duke University and Medical Genetics at the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Ann Carlson, MS CGC is a board certified genetic counselor who graduated from the Human Genetics program at the University of Colorado, Denver. Ann has worked in the field for 30 years in pediatric, prenatal, laboratory and cancer settings. She has extensive experience in hereditary colorectal cancer from her four years at the Jay Monahan Center at Weill Cornell.
Constance Gibb, MS, CGC is a board certified genetic counselor who graduated from the Human Genetics program at Sarah Lawrence College. Connie has worked as a genetic counselor at Weill Cornell for over 10 years in specialty clinics. For the last two years, she has worked in cancer genetics with Dr. Steven Lipkin at the Center for Advanced Digestive Care and at the Jay Monahan Center at Weill Cornell. Their focus is on genetic testing for gastrointestinal diseases, including Lynch Syndrome, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, and Hereditary Pancraeatic Cancer among others.
Consultations with a Genetic Counselor are provided free of charge to patients of Center for Advanced Digestive Care physicians. Fees and insurance coverage for consultations with the Medical Geneticist and genetic tests will be discussed with you. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a Genetic Counselor, contact 212-746-4014.