Cancer Genetic Testing at St. Jude Heritage Medical Group

Most cancers are not inherited; they usually develop sporadically, most often in older adults. Approximately 10 percent of the time, however, inherited gene alterations (mutations) are the reason a cancer develops. Genetic testing is useful in determining whether a mutation increasing the risk of cancer is present.

You may benefit from a cancer genetic risk assessment if you have a personal and/or family history of:

  • Cancer at a young age, i.e. breast, uterine, or colon cancer before 50
  • Triple negative breast cancer before age 60
  • More than one breast cancer with first diagnosis before 50
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Personal history of breast and ovarian cancer at any age
  • Male breast cancer or aggressive prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Ashkenazim Jewish heritage with a history of breast, ovarian or pancreas cancer
  • Personal history of uterine and colon cancer at any age
  • More than 10 colon polyps
  • More than two melanomas, especially if first diagnosis before 50
  • More than one cancer diagnosis in one person
  • Multiple generations of family members with similar cancers

Scheduling Your Consultation

The first step is to obtain a referral from one of your physicians to Cancer Genetic Counseling services at St. Jude Heritage Medical Group. After your referral is received, you will be contacted by our program assistant, who will ask you to complete a questionnaire documenting your personal medical history and your family cancer history. Once your questionnaire is returned, the program assistant will go over any questions, discuss insurance coverage for genetic services and will then schedule your consultation.

Your Cancer Genetic Risk Evaluation

Your initial visit (approximately 90 minutes) is a consultation with our genetic counselor, who will review your personal and family history in detail and explain how this information is used to assess your risk of developing cancer. If genetic testing is recommended, the counselor will describe possible test results and the implication of test results for you and your family members. Following the information and education about hereditary cancer and genetic testing, you will decide whether you want to undergo testing. Genetic testing is a personal decision; it is never required. If genetic testing is not appropriate, the counselor will explain why and will provide individualized medical management recommendations based upon your risk evaluation.

Genetic Testing

If testing is suggested and you are ready to proceed, you will be asked to supply a small blood or saliva sample to obtain your DNA. Your sample will be collected on site and then sent to a specialty laboratory. The laboratory will analyze your sample looking for mutations (alterations) in your DNA. Depending on the number of genes analyzed, and insurance requirements, test results arrive on average, in two to four weeks. When results become available, you will return to have a second meeting with the genetic counselor, where your results will be explained, questions answered and specific medical management recommendations provided. Examples may include increased cancer screening exams (i.e., breast MRI, more frequent colonoscopies), risk-reducing medication and in some cases, consideration of preventive surgery.

Our Providers

Our Locations

Fullerton - Virginia K. Crosson Cancer Center

Fullerton - Virginia K. Crosson Cancer Center

2151 N. Harbor Blvd.
Suite 3200
Fullerton, CA 92835

Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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