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At the Genetic Counseling Clinic at Parker Adventist Hospital Cancer Center, patients meet with Melissa Gilstrap, a trained genetic counselor. The genetic counselor conducts a personal cancer and genetic risk assessment for each patient and coordinates genetic testing, as needed. The information gained from genetic counseling and/or genetic testing can help individuals and their families make medical decisions about how to manage their risk for cancer and/or other genetic diseases.
At your appointment, you will discuss your cancer and genetic risks, as well as, your risk of having a genetic condition in your family. If genetic testing is warranted and you would like to proceed with testing, we will work with the lab and your insurance company to see if testing will be a covered benefit. If testing will be covered, you will proceed with either a blood draw or saliva collection and will be asked to return to the clinic when your results are available. If you receive genetic counseling you are under no obligation to pursue genetic testing and may take as much time as you need to decide whether genetic testing is right for you. Note: If your family and personal history meet certain criteria specified by your insurance company, you may proceed with a blood draw immediately after your initial consult.
Melissa Gilstrap graduated summa cum laude from CU-Boulder with a BA in Analytical and Behavioral Genetics and an honors thesis titled, "The Clinical, Psychological, and Social Implications of BRCA1/2 Genetic Testing." Following her undergraduate degree, Melissa graduated with a Masters of Science degree in Biophysics and Genetics with an emphasis in Genetic Counseling from CU Health Sciences Center. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and Colorado Cancer Coalition Cancer Genetics Task Force.
This background allows Melissa to perform cancer and genetic risk assessments for her patients. Through this process, she also helps them adapt to their cancer and/or genetic risks and implement the medical management options they choose. Melissa is passionate about genetic counseling because she feels that it provides education and support for individuals and helps them to make informed decisions about their health.
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