The Hereditary Cancer Program is a referral/consultation service that evaluates families with multiple members with cancer, to assess the likelihood for hereditary cancer. Genetic testing is offered to families with appropriate histories.
The Hereditary Cancer Program offers an in-depth risk assessment of families with multiple cancers (of the same or different type). Family histories are reviewed in detail, medical records are obtained on affected individuals, diagnoses are confirmed and an assessment is made of the family’s and the individual’s risk for inherited cancer.
Screening and management options are provided for family members based upon their individual cancer risk. Associated lifestyle risk factors are also discussed. For a growing number of cancers, genetic (DNA) testing can be arranged to determine an individual’s cancer risk more precisely. It is preferable to begin genetic testing with a family member already affected with cancer.
It is not always obvious which families are appropriate for an evaluation for hereditary cancer risk. In general, an evaluation should be made when there have been two or more close relatives affected with cancer and one or more of the following:
- cancer(s) developed at an earlier age than usual (before age 50);
- affected person may have more than one primary cancer;
- physical signs may be associated with inherited cancers (for example, multiple polyps and colon cancer);
- different cancers in the family are known to be genetically related (for example, breast and ovarian cancers); and
- single gene pattern of inheritance of cancers in a family.
We also are available to discuss any family that seems to have an unusual cancer burden, but does not necessarily meet these criteria.