We all know that we inherit physical traits from our parents. But now, research has shown that heredity can play a role in the development of cancer. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 10 percent of all breast and ovarian cancers are genetically inherited. Fortunately, steps can be taken to identify this inherited susceptibility.

Looking for Answers in DNA

DNA is the molecule that contains the genes that tell our bodies how to grow and develop. It allows transmission of genetic information from generation to generation. Now, by means of a test, doctors can see if you’re genetically predisposed to certain cancers. But even if your results are positive, consider yourself fortunate. Because now, you and your doctor can take important precautionary steps that could help save your life.

Genetic Risk Assessment Program

The Breast Center at Memorial Healthcare Plaza offers a genetic screening and assessment program to identify individuals who are at a higher risk to develop breast and ovarian cancer. A multidisciplinary team of nurses and doctors will provide a comprehensive education, assessment of risk factors and recommendations regarding cancer screening, lifestyle management and treatment decisions.

  1. Have you been diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50?
  2. Have you been diagnosed with ovarian cancer (at any age)?
  3. Do you have relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50?
  4. Do you have relatives who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer (at any age)?
  5. Do you have relatives who have been diagnosed with male breast cancer?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to ask your physician or other healthcare professional for more information about assessing your cancer risk.

Risk Assessment Services

Risk assessment is a very confidential and intimate process that begins with a brief phone interview with a trained genetic risk assessment nurse. If further screening is indicated, a detailed family history questionnaire is completed by the patient and an appointment for a personal risk assessment session is arranged.

The assessment educates the patient and explains the genetic testing process and the information it reveals. It also explains the benefits and implication of being tested, as well as insurance and cost issues. Should the patient decide to proceed, a blood sample is taken for analysis.

If the test suggests an increased risk for an inherited form of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, a panel of physicians is available to recommend a personal plan for prevention and early detection. This may include increasing the frequency of screening or more invasive interventions such as surgery.

Each patient receives an individualized plan for follow-up care. For more information call 399-6275.