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What Will Happen

Patients and Families

What will happen

Prior to your appointment, one of our genetic counsellors will call you to obtain information about your personal and family history. They will also answer any questions you have about the referral or appointment and determine what your main concerns and expectations are.

We will usually enquire about your first degree (children, siblings and parents) and second degree (grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and grandparents) relatives. This generally includes:

  • names
  • dates of birth
  • dates and cause of death
  • general health
  • ages of diagnoses
  • details about relevant medical conditions and diagnoses
  • details on where and when people were investigated or treated

We might ask you to pass on a consent form to certain relatives which requests permission to access their relevant medical records. We will never contact your relatives directly without your permission and the information provided to us is strictly private and confidential. We understand that, for various reasons, you may not be able to answer some or all of our questions. If you have been referred because of a personal and/or family history of cancer, you will probably also receive a cancer history questionnaire to complete.

At your appointment, you will be seen by a clinical geneticist, a genetic counsellor or both. The consultation time is up to one hour in duration, however an additional half an hour may be required after this if any investigations (e.g. blood tests or X-rays) need to be ordered. You are welcome to bring a family member or friend along for support.

Time is spent with you discussing your concerns and providing you with information. We encourage you to ask questions, so you might wish to write these down beforehand. Depending on the reason for referral, a geneticist may need to perform a physical examination. Sometimes clinical photographs can assist in making a diagnosis but they will always be taken with your permission. It might be necessary for us to gather more information or to arrange blood tests, x-rays or other investigations to help make a diagnosis. It is not always possible to obtain a diagnosis in the same appointment.

After your appointment, both you and your doctors will receive a letter about what was discussed during the consultation, including any recommendations made. Sometimes follow-up appointments are arranged as required.

Last updated: 28 July 2016

Contact Genetic Health Queensland