Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment - Cape Cod Healthcare

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Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment

Good health requires planning and care, including understanding your cancer risk. We are committed to proactive care by providing you with the best evaluation tools available.

Hereditary Cancer Screening

The first step to determining risk is taking the Hereditary Cancer Risk Survey. This questionnaire allows you to answer questions online in the privacy of your own home to build an early picture of cancer risk. If your answers indicate the possibility of an elevated risk, you will have the option of referring your results to a Cape Cod Healthcare genetic specialist for clinical counseling and further testing, if necessary.

Review of Familial Risk

In assessing familial risk, patients meet with a trained clinician to build a history of cancer occurrences within their family – another indication of an individual’s risk. If the assessment indicates high risk, further testing is offered.

Patients found to have familial high risk – defined as greater than 20% lifetime risk of developing cancer based on risk calculations – or those with a genetic mutation for breast or ovarian cancer – are enrolled automatically in our high-risk program, designed to provide a more intensive screening.

High-risk determination is based on family history of certain cancers, and personal factors. Among them are:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Weight
  • Prior radiation
  • Lifestyle factors, including smoking and alcohol use

To determine if a patient is at high-risk for breast cancer, additional factors include:

  • Age at first menstruation
  • Age of first live birth or having no children
  • Age at menopause
  • Use of hormone replacement therapy
  • Personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Breast density
  • Previous breast biopsy

Knowledge of your cancer risk can help you, along with your physician, plan a long-term approach to preventive health, additional screenings or other treatments.