Hereditary Cancer Screening

Identifying those at risk of developing cancer is an important part of effective risk management that increases the potential of prolonging one’s life. With genomic technology advancing rapidly, the ability to practice personalized medicine and tailor patient care based on individual risk is now possible. At the Women's Wellness clinic, we specialize in hereditary cancer screening, interpretation and management using myRisk.  If you have a family history of cancer, please consider taking this short, less than 1 minute, quiz here.

Every person fits into one of three risk categories for cancer: those that carry sporadic, familial or hereditary cancer risk.

  • Sporadic risk is also referred to as general population risk.
  • Familial risk is elevated beyond sporadic risk due to the presence of personal or a family history of cancer.
  • Hereditary cancer risk includes the presence of a genetic mutation in a family that increases the risk of cancer and is the highest risk threshold.

Identifying which category an individual fits into is necessary to correctly adapt screening and management decisions. Additionally, a focus on family history and risk stratification allows the opportunity to detect those individuals who carry one of several genetic mutations that dramatically increase their risk of developing cancer.

In our practice, we offer myRisk hereditary cancer panel, a 28-gene panel that identifies elevated risk for eight different cancers: breast, ovarian, gastric, colorectal, pancreatic, melanoma, prostate and endometrial. A review of the patient’s family history may include first cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents. Information about all cancers on both sides of the family, including what age they occurred, is necessary and may include such examples as: breast cancer before age 50 or multiple breast cancers in the same person, male breast cancer, ovarian cancer or colon cancer before age 50.

We encourage you to gather as much information about your family history as possible prior to your screening visit. At the screening visit we discuss family history and evaluate whether a woman qualifies for genetic testing, along with explaining more about the test and follow-up. If so, her family history of cancer and blood work are submitted to the genetic testing lab. A follow-up appointment is then made to discuss the results and management plan.

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