Genetic Testing

Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment

Cancer Risk Assessment, 3Understanding your family history and cancer risk
Your family tree may reveal more than your roots! With today’s technology of gene identification and testing, your family history can be a key element to your own health.

Most cancers are not inherited and seldom have just one cause. Cancer is usually the result of the interaction of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that cause a series of genetic changes that build up in the cells over time. It is clear, however, that there is more cancer in certain families due to an abnormal gene that is passed from generation to generation.

Prevention, risk reduction, and early detection are the best weapons in the fight against cancer—no matter what the cause.

What is a hereditary cancer risk assessment and should I get one?
A hereditary cancer risk assessment is an evaluation tool that reveals your risk for getting certain types of cancer based on your family medical history, personal lifestyle, and environmental factors.

You will complete an extensive questionnaire about these risk factors. From this, a risk assessment for hereditary cancers of the breast, ovary, colon, and/or skin will be completed. A plan for risk reduction, prevention, and early detection, including genetic testing, if indicated, will be developed.

A hereditary cancer risk assessment is strongly recommended if you have a family history of cancer, or lifestyle and environmental risk factors that are of concern to you.

Who will evaluate your risk?
Our oncology nurse practioners have specialized training in genetic cancer risk assessment. They will work directly with you and your family in association with our oncologists, who all have extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary cancers, as well as cancer genetics.

What value is hereditary cancer risk?

  • Peace of mind - A comprehensive risk assessment may reveal that you and your family are not at great risk for cancer like you thought you were.
  • Reducing risks - Knowing you are at risk is invaluable in helping you and your healthcare provider manage your care.
  • Early detection - Development of a personal risk management plan can lead to greater control of your healthcare and most importantly, early detection and treatment.
  • Knowledge - The information you obtain enables you to take action rather than waiting and wondering.

Should you be concerned?
How do you know if you or your family is at greater risk than average for getting cancer? Think about your family ancestry and consider a hereditary cancer risk assessment if:

  • Cancer has occurred in your family at young ages, such as breast cancer under the age of 45, and colon cancer under 50
  • Several close relatives have had cancer, especially the same type of cancer or related cancers. For example, breast and ovarian or colon and uterine cancer
  • Cancer has been found in the same relative more than once
  • A rare cancer has occurred in your family, such as male breast cancer
  • Any of the above and your family is of Eastern European Jewish descent

Getting started
To get a hereditary cancer risk assessment, schedule an appointment at either of our oncology clinics. A referral from your doctor is preferred. Prior to your first visit, you will be sent a packet of information with a detailed questionnaire for completion. The initial visit will take approximately one hour.

Payment for service
Most medical plans will cover some or all of these services. Although our office does not require a referral, your insurance may require one. We will do everything we can to help you obtain payment from your insurance carrier. However, the basic responsibility for payment is yours.