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Are You at Risk for Inherited Cancer?

Genetic counseling, offered by the Family Cancer Genetics Program at Moores Cancer Center, can help you assess your risk for inherited cancer based on personal and family medical history. It will also help determine whether you are a candidate for genetic testing.

Because inherited cancers are relatively rare, cancer genetics testing is only recommended under certain circumstances. If you or your family have any of the following, you may be a candidate:

  • Early onset of breast, colorectal, or other cancers usually diagnosed after age 60
  • Individuals or families with numerous colon polyps
  • Several relatives with breast and/or ovarian cancer
  • Families with a combination of the following cancers: Colon, rectal, stomach, endometrial, uterine, kidney, ureter, pancreas, or small intestine
  • Several relatives with melanoma and/or pancreatic cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish individuals with any ovarian cancer in the family or any breast cancer diagnosed before age 50 in the family
  • Several relatives with endocrine cancers
  • Two or more related cancers in the same person or in close relatives. For example:
    • Breast cancer and ovarian cancer
    • Colorectal and endometrial cancers
    • Melanoma and pancreatic cancers

If your family has other clusters of cancer, or if there's any cancer that was diagnosed at an unusually young age, contact us to see if you would be a candidate for genetic counseling.

You may also want to consider genetic counseling for yourself and family members if you've been diagnosed with a hereditary type of cancer, especially if the diagnosis was at an early age and/or you had no known risk factors.

Tips for Collecting Your Family History

  • Try to find out the age at which your relatives were diagnosed with cancer. This is often the most important clue in identifying families with a hereditary cancer syndrome.
  • Whenever possible, try to obtain the pathology reports, or other medical records from family members who have had a cancer diagnosis.
  • If anyone in your family has already had genetic testing, ask for a copy of their test result to bring with you. This is very important to ensure that the right test is ordered in the event that you'll have genetic testing yourself.

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