Hereditary Cancer

One in three Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime, and at least 10 percent of these cancers are hereditary. Advancements in medicine have identified certain risk factors that may influence an individual’s chance of developing a variety of cancer types.  

Providence Center for Clinical Genetics and Genomics offers risk assessment, genetic testing and genetic counseling for people concerned about their personal and/or family history of cancer. We also assist individuals with newly diagnosed cancers in determining what surgical and medical treatments may be most appropriate based on test results. Some hereditary cancers, such as breast, ovarian, pancreatic and colon, can be treated with targeted therapies that are tied to an underlying genetic mutation.

Knowing your risk can empower you and your family to make better, more informed health decisions. Your decisions can lead to better cancer treatments, earlier cancer detection and prevention. Knowing your risk can change your future. At our center, you can expect to receive the accurate information you need along with the compassionate, respectful care you deserve.

Is a Genetic Consultation Right for You?

A consultation with a genetic counselor can help assess your cancer risk. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us by calling 818-748-4748 or emailing ProvidenceGenetics.CA@providence.org

In the questions below, “family” includes any first-degree (mother, father, siblings, children), second-degree (aunts/uncles, grandparents, nieces/nephews) and third-degree relatives (cousins, great-aunts/uncles, grandchildren).

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Please call us at 818-748-4748 if you have questions about your risk for cancer. You may also use our online form to schedule a consultation.

What to Expect at a Genetic Consultation

Before your appointment, you will complete questionnaires about your medical history and the medical history of your family, regardless of which disease concerns you. In some cases, medical records will be required. Your risk assessment will be based on a number of factors, including the information you provide.

During your visit, we will:

  • Document your personal and family medical history, and construct your medical family tree
  • Discuss your risk of developing cancer and other medical conditions based on your personal and family medical history, a physical exam, and data such as risk models
  • Offer genetic testing if your history suggests a hereditary cancer syndrome. Testing is done through a blood or saliva sample. If you undergo testing, we will speak again in a few weeks to discuss the results in detail.
  • Develop a risk reduction plan tailored specifically to meet your risk needs
  • Discuss important issues, such as who else in your family may benefit from this information

Understanding Genetic Testing Results

Having a genetics consultation will help you understand the actual cancer risks you face. If testing reveals that you are at high risk, our team will explain your options for reducing your risk of cancer and detecting cancer early. If results show you are not are at high risk of hereditary cancer, you can have some peace of mind.

Genetic information helps us:

  • Determine if you have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer
  • Determine if your family members may have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer
  • Create a personal risk reduction plan, which may include enhanced screenings, specific lifestyle and wellness programs, medications, and surgery options
  • Develop treatment plans specifically for you (if you have already been diagnosed with cancer) and identify additional cancer risks that you may face