For some families, cancer seems to be inherited or passed down from one generation to the next. There may be several relatives who have been diagnosed with the same type of cancer, perhaps at an early age. Their cancer may be a result of an inherited gene change or mutation.
The Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program at Capital Health Center for Oncology helps individuals and families understand genetics and how it may affect them.
Click here to view a printable PDF of our Cancer Genetics Risk Asssessment Program brochure.
Who can benefit from cancer risk assessment?
Anyone who is concerned about his or her family’s history of cancer can benefit by meeting with our genetic counseling team. Cancer risk assessment is specifically recommended for those with:
- A diagnosed cancer
- A first-degree relative(s) (parents, sisters, brothers, children) diagnosed with cancer
- Families with two or more relatives on the same side of the family (either the mother or father’s side) with the same or related cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancers, colorectal and uterine cancers
- A family history of cancer and of Ashkenazi Jewish descent
- A family member who had:
- Cancer that occurred at an early age, (before the age of 50) such as breast, ovarian, endometrial, or colorectal cancer
- Cancers in both breasts, ovaries, kidneys, or adrenal glands
- The diagnosis of two different cancers at any time, such as breast and ovarian cancers, breast and colon cancers, or uterine and colon cancers
- A rare cancer, such as male breast cancer, retinoblastoma, medullary thyroid cancer, or sarcoma
- An inherited condition with which cancer occurs more frequently than it does when the condition is not present (such as multiple intestinal polyposis, neurofibromatosis, or Cowden's disease)
How our cancer genetics team can help you
A cancer risk assessment provides information about how heredity and environmental factors may cause cancer in a family or an individual. A cancer risk consultation with a certified genetic counselor can provide accurate information about cancer risk, cancer screening, and genetic testing. This information can relieve
anxiety and provide a sense of control.
A visit with the Capital Health counseling team includes:
- An explanation of how cancer develops and how it is inherited
- A thorough review of your family history
- An assessment of your risk to develop cancer
- An estimation of the likelihood that there is a detectable cancer gene in your family
- A discussion of the risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing
- Recommendations for cancer screening
- A comprehensive summary letter
Genetic testing, when indicated, usually involves just a simple blood test. If you are interested in genetic testing, we will work with your insurance company to provide you with information about your coverage and any anticipated out-of-pocket expense before you consent to having the test. After the blood test is drawn, you will receive your results in about two to three weeks in a face-to-face visit, along with recommendations for cancer screening and prevention.
Some people might avoid having a cancer risk assessment because they are afraid that, if they do have an increased risk of cancer, the information might threaten their jobs, insurance, or private lives. Fortunately, state and federal legislation have been, and continue to be, enacted to protect the privacy and rights of people who have been identified as carrying diseaseassociated genetic alterations.
Hours of operation
All appointments are scheduled at Capital Health Medical Center - Hopewell. Appointments are scheduled 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 609-537-7043.