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Cancer Genetics Program

Cancer Genetics Program

Washington Cancer Genetics Program

Washington Women's and Imaging Center
2500 Mowry Avenue, Suite 150
Fremont, CA 94538
Phone: 510 608-1356
Free Parking and adjacent to Fremont BART

Is There a History of Cancer in Your Family?

If you have a history of cancer in your family - or you have a close relative that has been diagnosed - chances are you have a lot of questions. How does this impact your risk of developing cancer? What about your children? Are there tests to determine risk? Are there ways to change your risk profile? What about screenings?

By getting information early on and understanding your risk, you can positively impact your outcome when it comes to cancers. Genetic testing has become a valuable tool in evaluating individuals' risk of certain types of cancer, as well as in taking steps to change that risk.

To learn more about genetic counseling, testing and risk assessment at Washington Hospital, call us at 510 608-1356.

Genetic Counseling, Testing and Risk Assessment

The Washington Cancer Genetics Program is a collaboration between Washington Hospital and the Stanford Cancer Genetics Clinic at Stanford University Medical Center. The Program offers genetic counseling for individuals concerned with the risk of an inherited cancer predisposition. The clinic staff includes genetic counselors, medical oncologists, and registered nurses.

What to Expect

Genetic Counseling

As part of the program you will meet with our specially trained genetic counselors. Your counseor will provide:

  • Education regarding genetic susceptibility, risk assessment and genetic testing
  • Non-directive assistance with decision making
  • Support in identifying and coping with the psychological and social concerns related to an increased cancer risk
  • Discussion of the familial implications of hereditary cancers

Risk Assessment

If you participate in the program, a comprehensive risk assessment will be done. This includes a complete personal and family medical history, including risk for cancer as well as possible predisposition for carrying a cancer gene. In individuals with a strong family history, a major inherited cancer predisposition gene may be responsible. The most common inherited cancers include breast, ovarian and colon, although other types exist. The characteristics of genetic cancers include:

  • Diagnosis at an early age
  • Bilateral or multiple tumors
  • Multiple generations affected on the same side of the family

Genetic Testing and Results

If genetic testing is pursued, you will discuss the results and plan management strategies options with the trained medical oncologist. Your primary physician will receive a consultation report which includes results and the options discussed. Genetic risks for other family members can be reassessed. Participation in research studies may be offered.

Risk Reduction

The medical oncologist will work with you and your PCP to determine any applicable genetic test surveillance, preventive treatments, screening test and procedures. Options may include intensive monitoring, medications or surgery. If appropriate, participation in research protocols and clinical trials will be offered.

Research

The Washington Cancer Genetics Program is a collaboration between Stanford University Medical Center and Washington Hospital Health Care System. This relationship allow us to offer our community the latest research protocols as well as exploring the molecular and genetic basis of cancer susceptibility, new methods for early detection and prevention of cancer, and determining cancer risk in different ethnic groups.

Interested in learning more? Read this spotlight article on Cancer Genetics.

Who Should Consider Genetic Testing?

Breast and Ovarian Cancer
Consider genetic testing if you are:

  • Diagnosed with breast cancer (male or female)
  • Ashkenazi Jewish diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50
  • Diagnosed with ovarian cancer
  • Diagnosed with breast cancer at any age and have two close relatives with breast, ovarian, thyroid or uterine cancer.

Family History (same side of the family)

  • Two close relatives diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50 or younger
  • A close relative diagnosed with a BRCA1 OR BRCA2 mutation
  • A close relative diagnosed with male breast cancer
  • Breast and thyroid or uterine cancer in the same side of the family

Colorectal Cancer

  • Diagnosed with colon or uterine (endometrial) cancer at any age
  • Diagnosed with either two colon cancers or colon and uterine cancer at any age
  • Diagnosed to have 10 or more colon polyps
  • Diagnosed with a colon tumor that is found to be micro-satellite instable (MSI positive)

Family History (same side of the family)

  • Two close relatives diagnosed with colon cancer; one at age 50 years or younger
  • Three close relatives diagnosed with colorectal cancer and/or uterine cancer at any age

How can I find out more about genetic counseling and testing?

We offer an information class twice a year. Check our calendar of events for upcoming dates. Topics covered include:

  • Am I a candidate for the genetic testing? Knowing your risk.
  • What genetic testing will tell you and implications for your family
  • The role of the genetic counselor and medical oncologist
  • Your role in obtaining a three generation family history
  • Program costs and insurance authorization

 Costs for genetic counseling and testing will vary with the complexity of the case. Check your insurance policy guidelines for coverage.