Data from the Capital Health Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program
The Capital Health Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program (CGRAP), which started in 2004, has helped many families over the last ten years. Close to 1,000 patients have contacted our nurse coordinator to assess whether their cancer and/or family cancer history is a result of an inherited cancer predisposition. As the graph illustrates, the number of patients referred to our Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program in 2013 dramatically increased as more clinicians routinely include genetic risk assessment and due to heightened media attention.
Individuals at greater risk for an inherited cancer predisposition and who should contact our Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program include:
- Any family that has a known hereditary susceptibility mutation
- An earlier age of onset of cancer
- Male breast cancer in the family
- Bilateral occurrence of cancer
- Two or more different types of cancer occurring in the same individual
- Multiple family members affected with a diagnosis of cancer both across and within generations
- Certain ethnicities such as those of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage
Approximately 60% of patients who contacted our Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program came for genetic counseling. Our certified genetic counselors and physicians offer a thorough family history assessment, patient education on risk factors, inheritance patterns and impact for other family members and patient information to help support their decision making and resources in the community. Our Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program also provides a thorough discussion on insurance implications and laws in place to project your insurance rights.
At Capital Health, our ten-year data shows that 65% of our patients went on for genetic testing and approximately 20% were discovered to have a mutation or “gene change.” With the availability of genetic testing, patients no longer have to wait until a cancer diagnosis is made for them to take steps to protect their health or to help other family members. Based on recommendations, an individual can proactively prevent cancer or help detect it in an early stage by following recommended guidelines.