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Hereditary Cancer Syndrome Testing in St. Helena

Reducing risk of hereditary cancer

Research has shown up to 10 percent of cancers are due to factors passed from one generation to the next. These syndromes are known as hereditary cancers.

There are genetic tests that can be used to determine your risk for developing these cancers. If you suspect you or someone you know may be at risk for cancer — such as a family history of cancer or membership in an at-risk ethnic population — you may want to learn more about genetic testing.

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing can help you determine if you are at increased risk for developing certain types of cancer. It does this by searching for specific changes in your genes.

Goals of genetic testing

  • Provide valuable information for use in customized medical management plans
  • Determine whether you have a genetic mutation known to increase your risk for certain inherited cancers
  • Help your healthcare professional make a timely and accurate diagnosis
  • Enable your healthcare professional to better predict disease aggressiveness to assist in making more informed treatment decisions

Are you a candidate for genetic testing?

If you have a personal or family history of cancer or have an increased risk of developing and meet any of the criteria below, we encourage you to consider genetic testing:

  • Cancer that was diagnosed at a young age (under 50)
  • Several different types of cancer that have occurred independently
  • Several close blood relatives who have the same type of cancer
  • Unusual cases for a specific cancer type (lie breast cancer in a man and ovarian cancer at any age)
  • Being a member of a racial/ethnic group that is known to have an increased risk of having a certain hereditary cancer syndrome

What cancers does genetic testing include?

The list below includes some of the more common cancers that are part of inherited cancer syndromes for which genetic testing is available:

  • Breast
  • Ovarian
  • Gastric
  • Colorectal
  • Pancreatic
  • Melanoma
  • Prostate
  • Endometrial

How is genetic testing done?

A saliva sample is collected in the office. The sample is then sent to a laboratory that specializes in genetic testing. The laboratory returns the test results to the doctor who requested the test.

How soon do you get the results?

It usually takes a few weeks to get the test results. Your provider will discuss the results, what this means to you and your family, and how it will impact your personalized medical management.

Our Hereditary Cancer Consortium team is with you every step of the way

Genetic testing can have several benefits. If you test positive, it is important you know you have an experienced team of specialists who work together and stand ready to help you every step of the way.

The Hereditary Cancer Consortium includes a team of physicians who are specialists in gynecology, internal medicine, gastroenterology, oncology/hematology, dermatology, and breast and reconstruction surgery who have a shared goal of helping patients in early detection and interventions. This may include increased surveillance and effective treatment plans that will reduce risk of cancer.

About the Hereditary Cancer Consortium

The Hereditary Cancer Consortium specializes in helping people at risk of hereditary cancer syndrome and helping them have options to reduce their risk or to actually prevent cancer. This information helps prevent cancer and saves lives for generations to come.

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