Genetic counseling | Cancer | Salem Health
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Salem Health Cancer Genetics Program

Are you concerned that cancer may run in your family?

More is being learned every day about how cancer risk is affected by family history and inherited factors.  Some families have hereditary cancer that can be identified with genetic testing.

Genetic counseling can help you:

  • Learn how your own cancer history and/or your family history of cancer may affect you and your relatives.
  • Better understand your cancer risk, if genetic testing makes sense for you, and what you may or may not gain from genetic testing.
  • Become aware and take steps to reduce cancer risk for you and your relatives.

About five to ten percent of cancers are hereditary and develop due to a gene mutation that has been passed down in the family. As a result, individuals who inherit a mutation from their mother or father are at a higher risk to develop certain cancers.

Understanding your risks

Individuals who have a hereditary cancer syndrome have an increased risk for certain cancers and/or to develop second primary cancers. Other family members are also at risk to have the same mutation. In addition, you may have an increased risk for cancer if you or a family member has a history of:

  • Adult cancer diagnosed under the age of 50.
  • More than one type of cancer in the same person.
  • Two or more relatives with the same type of cancer.
  • Male breast cancer.
  • Breast and ovarian cancer in close family members.
  • Colon and uterine cancer in close family members.
  • Breast or ovarian cancer and a Jewish background.
  • More than 10 colon and/or rectal polyps in total (not necessarily found all at once).

What is a genetic risk assessment?

A genetic risk assessment is an evaluation of your risk for cancer based on your individual and family history. At your genetics consultation, you will meet with an advanced practice nurse certified in genetics and oncology, to review your personal and family history of cancer, determine if genetic testing is appropriate and discuss possible preventative treatment options for your level of risk.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Salem Health offers personalized genetics appointments with our advanced practice nurse. Please contact us at 503-814-1365.

Preparing for your appointment

Prior to your appointment, it is important to gather as much information as possible. The more you know about your personal and family cancer history, the better the assessment will be. Please complete the questionnaire below to the best of your knowledge and return it to us prior to your appointment.

For questions or more information, please call our Cancer Genetics Program at 503-814-1365.