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Cancer Center - Clinical Genetics

 "Cancer seems to run in my family. Should I worry about a genetic predisposition?"
"I had cancer in one breast at a much younger age than is typical. Is there a possible problem at the genetic level?" 
Genetic testing can sometimes answer questions like these. Unfortunately the "answer" from genetic testing is not a simple "yes" or "no". 
Whatever the findings, there can be emotional, practical and sometimes financial repercussions. To help you understand the complete picture, we offer Genetic Counseling as an integrated service of the Sibley Cancer Center. 

Putting Cancer Risk in Perspective

The cornerstone of genetic counseling at Sibley is a personal consultation with Reem Saadeh, MD, an experienced clinical geneticist whose mission at Sibley is providing education and support. Working in a soothing environment at an unhurried pace, Dr. Saadeh explains the science of genetic testing. She reviews family medical history with special attention to incidence of cancer. She answers questions and she listens. Her ultimate goal is to provide the clear, accurate information and thorough understanding you need to make an informed decision about the next steps including the option of genetic testing. 

What’s The Difference?

Genetic Counseling is an in-depth, personalized educational consultation process designed to answer questions, dispel myths, provide clear, detailed clinical information about relevant genetic-cancer links and assess personal and family cancer risk. Genetic counseling also addresses the benefits and limitations of testing. Many people learn all that they need from genetic counseling. Others rely on that information to make a decision about whether or how to proceed with Genetic Testing. 
Genetic Testing is a laboratory analysis of a blood sample that can identify the presence of a known gene mutation positively correlated with an increased risk of a specific cancer. Testing has helped many patients and their physicians make important decisions about medical care; however testing is not the right choice for everyone. 

What can I expect from the consultation?

  • A clear understanding of the relationship between genes and cancer
  • A thorough explanation of the nature, uses and limitations of genetic testing, including the frequency and significance of findings that are uncertain
  • An exploration of options, should genetic testing yield a positive result
  • An exposition of possible negative repercussions, including genetic discrimination related to employment and health insurance coverage
  • An explanation of the complex, emotional reactions that can be experienced during and after the testing process
  • Follow-up support with Dr. Saadeh, by phone or in person, as you process the information and consider next steps

Reem Saadeh, MDAfter Counseling

We encourage you to take your time. As you consider next steps, Dr. Saadeh is available by phone or in person. If you and your physician choose to pursue testing, she will help in any way possible—from ordering the tests through follow-up consultation once you receive your results. 

Meet Dr. Saadeh

Reem Saadeh, MD is a board-certified geneticist and graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine with training at New York University and Johns Hopkins. In addition to her extensive clinical experience in genetics, Dr. Saadeh brings a gift for clarity in communication to the practice of Cancer Genetics Counseling. 
If you are concerned about a genetic risk for cancer, please call 202.370.6546 or email

Learn more about Genetics Counseling at Sibley:
Cancer Genetics Counseling: Understanding Your Risk and Options (PDF, revised 2010) 
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