Genetic Counseling

What is a Genetic Counselor and How They Can Help

The Role and Services of a Genetic Counselor

  • Assess if inheritance played a role in the development of an individual’s cancer or a family member's cancer
  • Providing patient education and answering questions about the option of genetic testing, and the risks and benefits of genetic testing
  • Assessing a person's risk for developing cancer using various risk models
  • Reviewing medical management, screening and surveillance options with or without genetic testing
  • Providing psychosocial support to patients and families, as well as facilitating communication between them
  • Discussing insurance coverage of testing, and confidentiality concerns regarding who might see genetic test results and how they might be used
  • Communicating results and implications of results with physicians and healthcare team
  • Information about appropriate research programs and/or clinical trials

Risk Factors for Hereditary Cancer

About 5-10% of all cancer is due to a change in someone’s inherited genetic makeup, or DNA. Cancer genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of inherited predisposition to cancer. This process integrates cancer risk assessment, education and counseling. Some red flags for hereditary cancer include:

  • A family history of multiple cases of the same or related types of cancer 
  • One or more relatives with rare cancer
  • Cancer occurring at an earlier age of onset than usual (for instance, under age 50)
  • Bilateral cancer
  • Multiple primary cancers

Contacting a Genetic Counselor

Patients may be referred to a Genetic Counselor through primary care providers, surgeons, medical oncologists and their staff, social workers, case managers, or other members of the health care team. If you have any questions about genetic counseling or would like to make an appointment, please contact:


Kayla Young, MS, CGC
Certified Genetic Counselor
  • Email: Kayla.Young@wth.org
  • Phone: 731-541-1737
  • Fax: 731-541-1777

Kayla Young, MS, CGC

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West Tennessee Healthcare (WTH) does not exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, Limited English Proficiency or sex, including discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, sex stereotyping or pregnancy in admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services and benefits under any of its programs and activities, whether carried out by WTH directly or through a contractor or any other entity with which WTH arranges to carry out its programs and activities.

For further information about this policy, contact Amy Garner (731) 660-1188.