The Capital Health Cancer Genetics Program (CGP), which started in 2004, has helped many families over the last 14 years. More than 1,600 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 Program in 2013 dramatically increased as more clinicians routinely include genetic risk assessment due to heightened media attention and that cancer genetic counseling and testing has become the standard of care. Individuals at greater risk for an inherited cancer predisposition who should contact our Cancer Genetics Program include those with:
- Any family that has a known hereditary susceptibility mutation
- An earlier age of onset of cancer (generally <=50 years)
- Male breast cancer in the family
- Bilateral occurrence of cancer (cancer that occurs in both of a pair of organs, such as both breasts, ovaries, eyes, lungs, kidneys, or adrenal glands, at the same time)
- 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
More than 60 percent of patients who contacted our Cancer Genetics Program came for genetic counseling. Our certified genetic counselors and physicians offer a thorough family history assessment, 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 Program also provides a thorough discussion on insurance implications and laws in place to project your insurance rights.
At Capital Health, our 14-year data shows that 70 percent of our patients went on for genetic testing and approximately 15 percent were discovered to have a mutation or “gene change” that increases their risks of developing cancer. 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. We are firm believers that “knowledge is power.” Based on recommendations, an individual can proactively prevent cancer or help detect it in an early stage by following recommended guidelines.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 609-537-7043 (8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday).