Cancer Genetics Program
Genetic Counseling and Testing
Evaluating Individuals and Families for Hereditary Cancers
Approximately five to ten percent of all cancers are hereditary.
Some families share a common gene for cancer that is inherited, passed from generation to generation. People in such families may be at greater risk for developing cancer. It is important to identify families who have inherited types of cancer, so at-risk relatives can be identified and monitored to help ensure that if cancer occurs, it will be detected and treated early.
The Lifespan Cancer Institute offers genetic counseling for patients so they may better understand the clinical and genetic aspects of a suspected heritable cancer. This includes how a particular genetic trait or disorder is passed from one generation to the next, identification of family members at risk, and discussion of the benefits, risks, and limitations of genetic testing, as well as the choice whether to not complete genetic testing.
The Cancer Genetics Program is an integral part of a patient’s overall cancer care team. We see patients at the Lifespan Cancer Institute and help them make informed decisions about genetic testing, and we assist them in considering their health care needs, preferences, and values.
We work closely with every medical specialty, including endocrinology, gastroenterology, dermatology, surgical oncology, and gynecology. We consult with doctors within those specialties who may suspect or identify a rare cancer in patients they see in their clinics.
Genetic counseling and testing is performed by board-certified genetic counselors, medical geneticists, and oncologists. Our team attends tumor board meetings, which are multidisciplinary meetings to review pathology and stage of the disease and to discuss the treatment plan.