23rd Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics (SISG)

Module 16: Cancer Genetic Counseling & Interpretation

Session 5: Mon Jul 23 to Wed Jul 25

Module dates/times: Monday, July 23; 8:30 a.m. -5 p.m.; Tuesday, July 24, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and Wednesday, July 25, 8:30 a.m.-Noon

There is a growing palette of genetic tests that are used to determine who is at high risk to develop various solid tumor cancers. Genetic tests are also used in the management of individuals who have a diagnosis of cancer. Who should be genetically tested? What is the role of genetic counseling in genetic testing? Can genetic testing cause harm? How are genetic variants interpreted? Is there a risk for discrimination? What are the potential emotional consequences of genetic testing?

This module provides a from-the-trenches view of cancer genetic counseling and genomic variant interpretation based on illustrative case examples from the clinical experiences of two genetic counselors who have seen thousands of patients. Interactive sessions will focus on an introduction to genetic counseling, family history and genetic testing, as well as a review of hereditary cancer syndromes with in-depth discussions of hereditary breast, ovarian and colon cancer syndromes. The “lived” experience of having a hereditary cancer syndrome will be explored.

Participants will use hands-on exercises to explore the nuances of interpreting variants from cancer gene analysis and discuss returning genomic sequencing results. Ethical issues will be woven throughout the module. Participation in classroom exercises and reading of critical articles is expected.

This module will be of interest to those who might be interested in becoming a genetic counselor, clinical research coordinators, graduate students, and clinicians.

Robin Bennett is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Senior Genetic Counselor and Clinic Manager for the Medical Genetics Clinics at the University of Washington. She is a Past President of the US National Society of Genetic Counselors, and is author of “The Practical Guide to the Genetic Family History.” She recently published “Medical genetics and genomics education: how do we define success? Where do we focus our resources?” Genetics in Medicine 19:751-753, 2017.

Laura Amendola is a Genetic Counselor and is the manager of the NHGRI-funded UW New Exome Technology in (NEXT) medicine study at the University of Washington. She recently published “Genome sequencing and carrier testing: decisions on categorization and whether to disclose results of carrier testing.” Genetics in Medicine 19:803-808.

Access 2017 Course Materials (2018 materials will be uploaded to this page prior to the start of the module)