Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, like colon or stomach cancer, may be caused in part by certain genes inherited from your parents. Using genetic testing and counseling, we can identify if you have these genes then help you understand your unique risks for GI cancer and what to do next.

Genetic counseling can help you prevent GI cancer, find more effective treatments, or even uncover a risk your parents, siblings, or children may share. You may want to consider genetic counseling if you have a personal or family history of GI cancer or GI polyps.

Your genetic information is kept private from your health insurance provider under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.

Why Choose Us for GI Cancer Genetic Counseling

  • Affordable: Our genetic testing and counseling services are usually completely covered by insurance or have a small maximum out of pocket cost.
  • Convenient testing: You can choose to receive a test at our clinic or in the comfort of your home. An at-home test is sent to you with a prepaid shipping label, so all you have to do is collect a saliva sample and send it back.
  • First in the region: Our clinic is the first of its type in the region and one of only a handful in California able to offer genetic services for GI cancers. We join a small but growing number of cancer centers nationwide following standards set by the Collaborative Group of the Americas Inherited Gastrointestinal Cancer.
  • Coordinated care: We guide your approach to prevention or treatment so you have less to worry about. We’ll communicate with your other providers, identify medicines that target specific cancer genes, and help you get the right follow-up care.
  • Support resources: We help you find the right resources, such as support groups, for your unique needs. We also have connections to larger patient advocacy groups for specific cancers, including Fight Colorectal Cancer and the Jacqueline Rush Foundation.

Conditions We Evaluate and Treat

  • Lynch syndrome or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • MUTYH-Associated polyposis (MAP)
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
  • Juvenile polyposis syndrome
  • Cowden syndrome/PTEN hamartoma syndrome
  • Serrated polyposis syndrome
  • Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer
  • Familial pancreatic cancer
  • Other GI cancer genetic syndromes

Services We Offer

  • Genetic testing and genetic counseling, where we identify if you have any genes known to contribute to GI cancer and help you with prevention or treatment.
  • Cancer surveillance and prevention programs, which help you monitor your health through regular testing, potentially preventing cancers (using procedures or medications) or detecting them as early as possible.
  • Diagnostic procedures to help detect cancers, including upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, balloon enteroscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and MRI.
  • Hereditary GI tumor registry, which helps improve detection, prevention, and treatment of your cancer by making non-personal information about your case available for research efforts.

What to Expect


Most patients we see have a referral from their primary care doctor, oncologist, or gastroenterologist. You may get referred for genetic counseling after a screening (such as a colonoscopy) or if you have or had GI cancer. 

Your First Visit

When you visit our clinic, you’ll meet with a genetic counselor from our team. Your counselor will discuss how genetic testing works, costs, what results can be expected, and what legal protections you have.

Together, you and your counselor will come up with a plan for any test result you may receive, including:

  • A negative result, meaning you do not have a genetic predisposition to GI cancer
  • A positive result, meaning you have a specific gene known to contribute to GI cancer
  • A variant of uncertain significance, meaning you have a gene that may be linked to GI cancer in some way, but the research is not conclusive yet

Genetic Testing

You can decide whether you’d like to get tested in our clinic or complete an at-home test. With an at-home test, you’ll collect a saliva sample and send it in for testing (using the prepaid shipping label).

Tests usually take a few weeks to process, but may take a month or more. Once we have your results, we’ll help you understand what they mean and what your next steps are for prevention or treatment. This includes what your results mean for any family members, including parents, siblings, and children.

Prevention and Treatment

We tailor your care plan to your unique health needs based on the results of your genetic testing. Certain lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, may be beneficial no matter your results.

If you don’t have GI cancer but do have a gene that contributes to it, we’ll help you get the right tests at the right times. Prevention and early detection can be powerful tools to fight GI cancer.

If you have GI cancer, we’ll coordinate with your doctors to ensure you’re getting the best care. If your cancer is linked to a gene, there may be medicines available that can target and fight tumors. Your care plan will also include ways to prevent or detect a cancer recurrence.

GI Cancer Care: Learn more about care for gastrointestinal cancers at our Cancer Center.

Fertility Planning

Treatment for certain GI cancers may affect your ability to have a child (known as fertility). We work with reproductive endocrinology specialists to offer fertility planning, which includes options such as freezing sperm and eggs. Our reproductive experts can help you improve your chances to have a child and provide strategies to prevent cancer in future children.

Take the Next Step

There are many options to prevent and treat GI cancers, whether they have a genetic component or not. Our team helps you navigate your cancer risks with more certainty. Speak with your primary care provider or gastroenterologist about genetic counseling at our clinic.