Frequently Asked Questions
What do we provide?
The Texas Children’s Hospital Cancer Genetics Clinic is led by a world renowned medical geneticist who works closely with a team of genetic counselors to provide services including, but not limited to:
- Clinical evaluation for genetic disorders
- Cancer Risk assessment
- Genetic counseling and education
- Recommendations for appropriate genetic testing
- Recommendations for how to minimize risk of future cancers including appropriate screening tests
Who does the Cancer Genetics Clinic serve?
We provide genetic services to children who already have cancer or family members who are at risk of developing cancer. Here are some reasons that a child might be referred to our clinic for a cancer genetics evaluation:
- Diagnosis of a cancer that typically is not found in children, for example a child being diagnosed with a cancer usually found in adults.
- Some types of childhood cancer that are associated with a high risk of being due to a genetic disorder, for example retinoblastoma.
- A family history of cancer that suggests the child might be at increased risk of developing cancer in childhood.
- Certain medical problems (i.e., unusual birthmarks, colon polyps, eye findings) that may be suggestive of a cancer risk.
What should I do to prepare for a Cancer Genetics Clinic visit?
You may be called prior to the clinic visit by a genetic counselor or staff member to gather types of information that will make the visit more efficient:
- Reports of any prior genetic testing of the child or close relatives
- Family history of cancer information including the type of cancer and age when diagnosed in siblings, parents, grandparents and other relatives.
- Medical records including pathology reports that describe any cancer in the family.
In addition to collecting family history information, spend some time to review your understanding of the Cancer Genetics Clinic and create a list of any questions you have.
What will happen during my first Cancer Genetics Clinic visit?
The child’s first visit will generally include:
- Physical exam
- Review of medical and family history and any records you provide
- Discussion of genetics and risks of cancer
- Genetic testing recommendations if applicable. The testing is usually done by sending a blood sample to a genetics testing laboratory.
- Note, testing is often not sent on the first visit due to insurance preauthorization requirements (see below)
Will insurance cover services provided by the Cancer Genetics Clinic?
- The genetic evaluation is generally covered like other types of visits with medical specialists with regard to co-pays and approvals.
- Insurance policies differ widely on coverage of genetic testing. Prior to genetic testing being completed, you will receive information regarding coverage and cost of genetic testing specific to your plan.
- Again, genetic testing is often not sent off at your first clinic visit as many insurance companies require the genetics visit and notes prior to approving testing
What will happen after your initial Cancer Genetics Clinic visit?
Outcomes from the first visit with the Genetics clinic may include either a:
- Recommendation for genetic testing sand proceed with insurance preauthorization including any required paperwork.
- Determination that genetic testing is not necessary for your child.
- Our medical assessment, cancer risk assessment and any surveillance recommendations will be sent to the child’s doctors.
- Results of genetic testing will be reviewed with you in person or by phone and copies provided to you with our recommendations for your records.