Genetics and Cancer

After looking at your family history, it may be possible to take advantage of today’s technology of gene identification and testing to give you and your family a better understanding of your cancer risks.

Cancer is thought to be the result of many factors, such as genetics, environmental exposure and lifestyle. Although the majority of cancers are not inherited, recent research has found that inheritance can greatly increase the likelihood of some cancers. Researchers have discovered that there is more cancer in certain families due to an abnormal gene that is passed from generation to generation.

Download our brochure about Cancer Genetics.

Why Have Cancer Risk Counseling?

Peace of Mind

You or your family members may be worrying needlessly. With a comprehensive cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling, the reality of your risk(s) can be determined. If it is found that a genetic change has increased your risk of cancer, you can then use this knowledge to take measures to reduce the risk. This may relieve the uncertainty and anxiety with which you and your family have been living.

Reducing Risks

Knowing you are at risk is invaluable in helping you and your health care provider manage your care. In most cases, there are three options for reducing cancer risks: increased surveillance, preventive medications and/or preventive surgery.

View our frequently asked questions about genetic testing for cancer.  

What Should You Expect?

You will be given a form to complete concerning your family health history. You will then meet with the counselor who will take a comprehensive family history and discuss with you the basics of cancer genetics, as well as any emotional, legal or ethical concerns you may have. The initial visit will take 1 to 1 ½ hours. Subsequent visits take less time.

If you wish to proceed with testing, an informed consent will be signed and a tube of blood will be drawn and sent to the appropriate laboratory. Since results cannot be given over the telephone, a return appointment will be made for disclosure of results.

The goal is to develop a personal risk management plan to prevent cancer development or to allow early detection while the disease is potentially curable.

Who Will Counsel You?

Rebecca Donohue, Ph.D, FNP, AOCN, APNG

Dr. Donohue is specifically trained in cancer genetics counseling. She has many years of experience in genetic counseling and will work directly with you and your family. Dr. Donohue is the only advanced practice nurse in Acadiana certified in genetics currently performing this service. 

Learn more about the Cancer Genetic Counseling Program at Lafayette General.

Are you looking for some additional, basic information about genetic testing and how it’s used to learn about inherited cancer risk? Visit the American Cancer Society's resources on genetic testing


Payment for Service

Most medical plans and insurance providers will cover some or all of our genetic counseling services. Although these services do not require a physician’s referral, your insurance may require one. As a courtesy to you, we will file with your insurance. However, you are responsible for any deductible, coinsurance and uncovered services.

Learn more about the Cancer Genetic program's insurance information and resources.

You or your physician may set up an appointment by calling:

CCA at Lafayette General - (337) 289-8400
CCA at Abbeville General - (337) 898-6413