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Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program

The Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program is a team comprised of specialists including geneticists, genetic counselors, physicians and nurse practitioners, who work together to provide cancer risk assessment and take steps to prevent the development of cancer. The program goals include:

  • Clinical: Provide patient-centered care and foster collaboration amongst healthcare providers
  • Research: Advance the field of cancer genetics, risk prediction and prevention, and related treatment options
  • Education: Provide clinical/didactic experiences for genetic counseling students, medical students, residents, fellows, and other providers
  • Community Outreach: Promote awareness of hereditary cancer risk and provide broad-based education about cancer prevention options

Patients seen in the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention program will typically first meet with a genetic counselor. Genetic counselors are licensed medical professionals with advanced training in genetics who help patients understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to diseases such as cancer. The cancer genetic counseling process includes:

  • Detailed review of your personal medical history and your family history of cancer
  • Risk assessment of the chance that the cancer(s) in the family are hereditary
  • Discussion of the risks, benefits, and limitations of genetic testing
  • Coordination of genetic testing and detailed discussion of genetic test results
  • Discussion of appropriate medical management recommendations, implications for family members, and support resources 

High Risk Cancer Prevention Programs 

Patients considered to be at increased risk for cancer can choose to consult with the appropriate programs, where clinicians provide a personalized cancer risk-reduction and screening plan, including medical and surgical options. These high risk cancer prevention programs include:

If needed, the program can also assist with arranging consultations with other specialists or surgeons for a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention and surveillance.

Who may be at risk for a hereditary or familial cancer? 

  • A personal or family history of early-onset cancer (younger than 45-50 years)
  • Several family members on the same side of the family with cancer
  • A personal or family history of breast cancer and Jewish ancestry
  • A personal or family history of ovarian, pancreatic, triple negative breast cancer or metastatic prostate cancer at any age
  • A personal or family history of multiple colon polyps
  • A personal or family history of multiple cancer diagnoses within the same individual
  • A personal or family history of a rare type of cancer/tumor (breast cancer in a male, medullary thyroid cancer, sebaceous carcinoma or adenoma)
  • A family history of a known gene mutation (such as BRCA1, BRCA2, MLH1, MSH2, etc.)