Program Overview

Hereditary cancer risk counseling and testing services at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara were established in 1999. We have a full-time certified genetic counselor on site, and we offer genetic counseling and testing for local residents who may be at an increased risk for cancer. All genetic services are completely confidential.

Who would most benefit from  hereditary cancer risk counseling?
Hereditary risk counseling may be especially helpful if you have a personal or family history of:

  • multiple family members affected by cancer of any type, especially in two or more generations
  • cancer occurring at an earlier age than is usually seen (such as breast or colon cancer before age 50)
  • more than one type of cancer diagnosed in one person
  • cancer in both breasts
  • male breast cancer
  • an inherited cancer predisposition (such as BRCA 1 or 2 mutation, familial adenomatous polyposis [FAP], Gardner syndrome, hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer [HNPCC] or Lynch syndrome)
  • several rare or unusual cancers
    anyone with questions regarding the inheritance of cancer

Services provided by the Cancer Risk Counselor include:

  • a review of your family history of cancer and risk of developing cancer
  • education on the role of genetics in cancer
  • a discussion about available genetic testing options
  • a discussion of cancer screening recommendations, specific to you and your family, and ways to reduce cancer risk

Is genetic testing available to me at the Cancer Center?
Genetic testing is available for some individuals/families with a strong family history of certain types of cancer. During the initial consultation, the Cancer Risk Counselor will discuss any genetic testing options that may be available for you or your family. You will be provided with education and counseling to help you decide whether or not genetic testing is right for you. Should you choose to undergo genetic testing, a blood sample will be taken and analyzed. Results are confidential.
Physician referral is not required; self-referrals are welcome.

Contact Information
For more information about the Hereditary Cancer Risk Counseling Program, please call (805) 898-2204 or send an email to