Our goal is to provide individualized care and counseling to all patients and families affected by a cancer predisposition syndrome by harnessing the power of precision medicine and the most up-to-date research from the medical genetics and hematology/oncology community.
During a typical new patient appointment at our clinic, we provide:
- Risk assessments for cancer predisposition syndromes (through collection of personal and family health history)
- Genetic testing with pre- and posttest counseling (including education on implications of diagnosis for both patient and family members)
- Comprehensive medical evaluations by a board-certified pediatric hematologist-oncologist
- Personalized tumor surveillance options based on each family’s needs and the current guidelines
- Research study enrollment (when appropriate)
- Identification of clinical trials (when appropriate)
What should you bring to your child’s appointment at the Cancer Predisposition Program?
- Any previous genetic testing results
- Knowledge about the family history of cancer (in child, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents) including type(s) and age of diagnosis
- Any questions or concerns regarding risk of cancer in child and/or family members
Building a pedigree
The cancer predisposition team will build a pedigree for your child or teen based on the family history and genetic testing information provided at the first appointment. A pedigree is a three-generational graphic representation of a family’s medical history and genetic relationships as it relates to cancer. A pedigree takes into account:
- Who in the family has been diagnosed with cancer
- At what age they were diagnosed
- What type of cancer it was
Building a pedigree allows the cancer predisposition team to look for certain patterns, which helps them in their risk assessment. Certain patterns increase the likelihood of a cancer predisposition syndrome beyond the 10% baseline risk. These patterns include:
- Cancer types
- Age of diagnosis
- Previous results from cancer screening (e.g., history of colon polyps)
- Any previous lumps/bumps (e.g., thyroid nodules)
- Side of the pedigree affected (maternal, paternal or both)
What is genetic counseling?
Genetic counseling helps patients understand how genetic conditions might affect them and their family members.
All new patients referred to the Cancer Predisposition Program will meet with one of our team’s genetic counselors. The genetic counselor will take a personal and family history, perform a risk assessment, describe the relevant cancer predisposition syndrome, recommend surveillance, and coordinate genetic testing, if applicable.
If the patient or a family member has had previous genetic testing, it is helpful to bring the report to the appointment.