Hereditary Cancer Risk Counseling & Genetics

Cancer results from mutations, or changes, in a person’s genes that usually occur over many years. Recent advances in medical research have lead to the identification of specific gene mutations that may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer. These abnormal genes can be passed from generation to generation, and a strong family history of cancer may mean that it's the result of an inherited cancer susceptibility gene. It's important to remember that only five to ten percent of all cancers are caused by inherited genetic mutations, and not everyone who carries them will develop cancer.


At the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, individuals have the unique opportunity to meet with a full-time cancer genetic specialist to discuss their concerns and determine their cancer genetic risk.  All participants in our Hereditary Cancer Risk Counseling Program will receive:

  • Education regarding possible reasons why cancer can "run in a family"
  • An individualized risk assessment regarding the likelihood that the cancer in a family is inherited and whether testing for a specific cancer risk gene is appropriate
  • Information about cancer risk reduction options, and
  • Knowledge to make educated, informed decisions about genetic testing and cancer screening and prevention (current and future)

There are many issues to consider before deciding if genetic counseling and/or testing is right for you or your family. To learn more about our Hereditary Cancer Risk Counseling Program, including eligibility, click here or call (805) 898-2204.

Take an interactive survey to help understand your personal risk of developing cancer.