Cancer Genetics

Genetic Cancer Risk Evaluation and Cancer Genetic Testing

You can take a proactive approach to managing or preventing cancer by undergoing a Cancer Genetic Risk Evaluation. In addition to determining the level of risk of specific cancers, the evaluation includes counseling and education regarding risk, medical management recommendations and if appropriate, genetic testing.

You may benefit from a cancer genetic risk assessment if you have a personal and/or family history of:

  • Cancer at a young age, i.e. breast, uterine, or colon cancer before 50
  • Triple negative breast cancer
  • More than one breast cancer with first diagnosis before 50
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Personal history of breast and ovarian cancer at any age
  • Male breast cancer or aggressive prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish heritage with a history of breast, ovarian or pancreas cancer
  • Personal history of colon cancer at any age
  • Metastatic or high-risk prostate cancer
  • More than 10 colon polyps
  • More than two melanomas, especially if first diagnosis before 50
  • More than one cancer diagnosis in one person
  • Multiple generations of family members with similar cancers

Did You Know...

Genetics is a term generally used to discuss testing of DNA that is passed down from parents. We use it in the sense of hereditary risk factors.

Genomics is a term used to discuss testing of DNA in tumors or blood that may help to determine the cause or trigger for a patient’s cancer. There are many genomic tests used to identify targeted therapies in patients with cancer.  Most mutations in tumors/cancer are isolated to the tumor and are not inherited by family members.

Most cancers are not inherited; they usually develop sporadically, most often in older adults. However, inherited gene alterations (mutations) are found in approximately 10 percent of patients with cancer. Genetic testing is useful in determining whether a mutation increasing the risk of cancer is present.

Contact the Genetics Department at 707-525-4060 with any questions or for more information.