Cancer Genetics and Counseling Program | Tampa General Hospital

Genetic counseling is a medical specialty that helps people make informed healthcare decisions by providing them with the information they need to understand how certain inherited conditions — such as higher risks for cancer — may affect them and/or their family members in the future.

In the highly acclaimed Tampa General Hospital’s Cancer Institute Cancer Genetics Program, a team including licensed, board-certified genetic counselors is available to help our patients:

  • Review their personal and family cancer history in detail
  • Learn about their hereditary risk of cancer
  • Explore their genetic testing options
  • Understand the implications of their genetic testing results
  • Discuss options to manage their cancer risk
  • Receive ongoing specialty genetics care to address evolving risks and recommendations

Through TGH’s Cancer Genetics Program, many patients benefit from cancer risk assessments, prevention strategies and education.

Who should consider genetic counseling and testing?

Anyone can potentially benefit from cancer genetic counseling. However, it may be especially helpful to you if you have active cancer, if you were diagnosed with cancer in the past or if you have family members who were diagnosed with cancer.

It is important to note that genetic counseling at TGH does not always lead to genetic testing, which may not be the right choice for everyone. However, if there are signs that cancer may run in your family, a genetic counselor at TGH may suggest genetic testing for you, particularly if:

  • You or a close relative were diagnosed with cancer before age 50
  • Several of your relatives developed the same or a similar type of cancer
  • You or a family member has received multiple cancer diagnoses
  • You or a family member has been diagnosed with a rare cancer, such as:
    • Male breast cancer
    • Adrenocortical carcinoma
    • Pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma
  • You have been diagnosed with ovarian, pancreatic or high-risk prostate cancer
  • Your family member had genetic testing that showed increased cancer risks

Our World-Class Cancer Institute

Why choose TGH for Genetic Counseling and Testing?

TGH’s Cancer Genetics Program is overseen by a team of specialists in the field of cancer genetics. After thoroughly reviewing your family medical history, we can help you learn about your cancer risk, suggest ways to help you manage it and determine whether you may benefit from genetic testing.

The decision to undergo genetic testing is a highly personal one. To help you navigate the complex science of genetics, you can rely on our experienced and compassionate team. Our team can provide expert guidance, facilitate test ordering/sample collection, and give you direct and personalized information. Our goal is to empower you to make the right choice for you.

If you elect to proceed with genetic testing, we will explain your results in a clear and understandable manner to help you determine the implications for you and your family. We can work with our team of multidisciplinary specialists to help you reduce your cancer risk or detect cancer early when there are generally more treatment options available. You may also wish to take advantage of our Cancer Institute’s High Risk Cancer Prevention Clinic, which offers a range of services that can help you stay up to date with the recommended care plan and update the plan with cutting-edge advancements.

The field of hereditary cancer research is growing at a rapid pace, and every day scientists are making groundbreaking discoveries that advance cancer care. At TGH, we strive to incorporate the latest findings into our Cancer Genetics Program so our patients can benefit from them as quickly as possible.


Currently, syndromes that can be identified and managed within our Cancer Genetics Program include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Hereditary Breast, Ovarian, and/or Prostate Cancer Syndromes
    • High-risk genes (BRCA1/2, PALB2)
    • Moderate penetrance genes (ATM, CHEK2, BARD1, BRIP1, RAD51C, RAD51D, HOXB13, NF1)
  • Hereditary Colon Cancer Syndromes
    • Lynch syndrome (also known as Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer syndrome)
  • Inherited Polyposis Syndromes
    • Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Syndrome
    • MUTYH-Associated Polyposis Syndrome
    • Juvenile Polyposis Syndrome
  • Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome
  • Li-Fraumeni Syndrome
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia
  • Hereditary Pheochromocytoma/Paraganglioma Syndromes
  • Cowden Syndrome (PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome)
  • Hereditary Hematologic Malignancy Predisposition Syndromes
  • Hereditary Kidney Cancer Syndromes
    • Von Hippel Lindau
    • Hereditary Papillary Renal Carcinoma
    • Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome
    • Hereditary Leiomyomatosis and Renal Cell Carcinoma
    • BAP1 Tumor Predisposition Syndromes
  • Gorlin Syndrome (Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome)
  • CDKN2A Mutation/Familial Atypical Multiple Mole-Melanoma (FAMMM) Syndrome
  • DICER1 Tumor Predisposition Syndrome

Our Cancer Genetic Counseling and Testing Process

Preparing for Your Appointment

To prepare for your genetic counseling session at TGH, you may find it helpful to obtain copies of any genetic testing record of your family, make a list of your immediate and extended relatives, and gather information about any cancer diagnosis in your family.

Your Initial Visit

During your initial consultation, a genetic counselor will perform a cancer risk assessment by asking about your personal and family medical history and creating a three-generation family tree. Based on the information you provide, your genetic counselor will determine if there are any signs that cancer may run in your family and review their findings with you.

If your genetic counselor is concerned about your history, they may suggest genetic testing to help you make important decisions about your medical care. If so, they will explain how genetic testing works and help you decide which test is the best fit for you. For instance, we can test for certain gene mutations that cause hereditary cancer syndromes using a blood, saliva or skin sample.

Your Results Appointment

Once testing is completed, our genetic counselors will review results with you and provide any recommendations regarding your care, which may include preventative screening, medications or surgery. You will also be provided with resources on how to best communicate important information to other at-risk members of your family.

Next Steps

For patients with confirmed inherited cancer risk, we offer annual follow-up visits with our Cancer Institute's High Risk Cancer Prevention Clinic to ensure the you are up to date with management as appropriate to the most recent guidelines, including ordering screenings and/or referring to our specialists as needed.

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