The Lacks Cancer Center at Saint Mary's Health Care is pleased to announce a new service available to those who may have questions or concerns about their personal or family history of cancer. Genetic counseling can provide you with a personalized cancer risk assessment, allowing us to customize the care that you receive. Here at The Lacks Cancer Center, we strive to provide you with the highest quality of care. We invite you to explore your family history to help us determine how we can best serve you and your family members.
The Lacks Cancer Center's Cancer Genetic Counseling team identifies patients at risk for developing specific types of cancers, and counsels those patients on the appropriate course of action. The cancers seen most often by our genetics team are breast, ovarian, colorectal and uterine cancers. Our team consists of a certified genetic counselor, as well as medical and surgical oncologists.
During a typical visit, a genetic counselor will review the patient's family and personal history, and assess their risk of carrying an inherited cancer gene. For some patients, genetic testing will be recommended. Should test results show an inherited mutation associated with an increased risk for cancer, our team of physicians will further review the patient's needs and offer a thorough consultation with recommended treatments.
In most cases, the cause of cancer is unknown. However, approximately 5-10% of cancer is hereditary. This means that an individual is born with a predisposition to develop certain types of cancers. This predisposition is caused by a change (mutation) in a certain gene. These genetic changes can be passed down from generation to generation of a family.
How To Know If The Cancer In Your Family May Be Hereditary
If any of these bullet points are true for you or your family members, it may be beneficial for you to speak with our genetic counselor.
- You or a close relative diagnosed with cancer at an unusually early age (often before age 50)
- You have relatives in more than one generation of your family with cancer
- You or a relative diagnosed with cancer more than once
- You or any of your relatives diagnosed with bilateral (both sides) cancer of paired organs (ex. breasts, ovaries, kidneys)
- You or any relative diagnosed with a rare type of cancer (ex. male breast cancer or pancreatic cancer)
- You or a relative have a history of 10 or more non-cancerous colo-rectal polyps
- Relatives with combinations of cancer in the family history:
- Breast and ovarian
- Breast, thyroid and endometrial
- Breast, brain tumors, bone and soft tissue tumors
- Pancreatic and melanoma
- Colon and endometrial
Genetic counseling is a consultation with a certified genetic counselor that provides:
- Education about why cancer can run in a family
- Individualized risk assessment regarding the likelihood that a cancer is inherited and whether testing for a specific cancer risk gene is appropriate
- Help for individuals to make educated and informed decisions about genetic testing and cancer screening or prevention
A genetic counselor will:
- Review your personal and family history
- Discuss the role that genes play in the development of cancer
- Discuss the risks, benefits and limitations of genetic testing
- Support you in making educated and informed decisions about genetic testing
- Facilitate genetic testing, when appropriate
Genetic testing for various forms of inherited cancer is available. Deciding whether or not to pursue genetic testing is a personal choice that can be made during the genetic counseling appointment, or at a future date. If you choose to undergo genetic testing, a blood or saliva sample will be taken and analyzed at an outside laboratory. Results are confidential and are discussed with the certified genetic counselor.
To request genetic testing have your primary care physician contact us, or self-refer by calling Sarah Keilman, Certified Genetic Counselor, at 616-685-5005 or 1-877-LACKS-MI.