About Hereditary Cancer

Cancer is a common disease with complex causes, many of which are not completely understood. Recent advances in cancer genetics have led to identification of genes that, when altered, cause significant increased risk for certain cancers. Although most cases of cancer are not due to single, inherited gene alterations, a small percentage are part of hereditary cancer syndromes.

Some features often seen in Hereditary Cancer Syndromes include the following:
  • Clustering of certain types of cancer in a family
  • Cancer occurring at younger ages
  • Cancer in more than one generation
  • More than one type of cancer in the same individual
  • Individuals with race cancers, such as male breast cancers or medullary thyroid cancer
Genetic Risk Services
  • Education about cancer genetics and cancer risk
  • Individuals and family cancer risk assessments
  • Guidance about whether genetic testing is appropriate
  • Discussion in detail of the risks, benefits, implications and limitations of genetic testing
How might an evaluation benefit you?

You could:

  • Gain a more accurate estimate of your personal cancer risk
  • Decrease worry—individuals often overestimate their own cancer risk
  • Increase the chance of early cancer detection
  • Become aware, in some cases, of increased risks for more than one type of cancer
  • Gather information to make the best decisions for yourself
  • Identify family members who have an increased risk of cancer
  • Gain reassurance, in some cases, that you and your family members are not at risk of cancer and do not need extra screening
Genetics Counseling is a process and includes the following:
  • Obtaining your medical and family histories and drawing a detailed pedigree-family tree
  • Giving you information on cancer genetics, risk and the results of testing
  • Discussing courses of action and choices for cancer screening to reduce risk, as well as their associated benefits, risks and limitations
  • Discussing, when appropriate, the option of genetic testing for cancer susceptibility genes
  • Obtaining informed consent and drawing a small amount of blood if genetic testing is chosen
  • Reviewing with you the results of your genetics test
Is cancer risk counseling right for you?

If you are concerned about your risk for cancer, cancer risk counseling by specialized health care professionals can help you better understand your risks and the options available to you and your family.

SOURCE: Lee Health Regional Cancer Center

Are you at risk for Hereditary Cancer?

The answers to the following questions help to identify people who may be at risk for a hereditary cancer:

  • In your mother's or father's family, including you, have two people related by blood had the same type of cancer?
  • Including yourself, has anyone in your family had cancer in matching organs?
  • Including yourself, has anyone in your family had cancer at age 50 or younger?
  • Including yourself, has anyone in your family had two different cancers that began in two different organs?

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you may want more information about genetics counseling. Please call the Regional Cancer Center for an appointment at 239-343-9512.

Genetic Risk Services

Lee Health Regional Cancer Center

8931 Colonial Center Drive
Fort Myers, Florida 33905