Hereditary Cancer Program
Our genetic counselors and physicians provide patients comprehensive cancer genetics services.
Approximately 5 to 10 percent of cancers are associated with an inherited gene mutation. Genetic testing can help determine whether a mutation is the underlying cause of an individual’s cancer and whether he or she has a higher risk of developing additional cancers. Genetic testing also may be informative for individuals who don’t have cancer but have a family history of cancer. Genetic test results have implications for other family members, as well.
Since 1998, our licensed and certified genetic counselors and physicians have been providing comprehensive cancer genetics services. These include cancer risk assessment, pre-test counseling, genetic testing, post-test counseling, and personalized recommendations for cancer screening and risk reduction.
- Please ask your healthcare provider to place a referral to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, Hereditary Cancer Program. Many insurance plans require a referral from the patient’s primary care doctor to cover the appointment.
- Referrals from outside UC Davis may be faxed to 916-703-5266.
- For self-referrals and any questions, please call us at 916-734-5959, option 7.
- Diagnosis of cancer prior to age 50
- More than one relative with the same or related cancers
- Individuals with more than one primary cancer
- A relative who carries a mutation for hereditary cancer
- Diagnosis of rare or unusual cancers in the family
- Diagnosis of certain cancers along with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
- Multiple precancerous colon polyps found on colonoscopy
- During a genetic counseling session, the genetic counselor will ask you questions about your medical history and your family’s cancer history. This information helps estimate the chance that you or your family could have an inherited gene mutation that causes a higher risk of developing cancer.
- You may be offered genetic testing depending on your personal or family history of cancer. If so, the genetic counselor will explain the risks, benefits, limitations and implications of genetic testing so you can make an informed decision.
- If testing is indicated, cost, insurance coverage and privacy considerations will be discussed.
- Genetic testing is typically performed by drawing one tube of blood that is sent to a specialized clinical genetics laboratory for analysis. The genetic counselor will discuss the results with you.
- We strongly encourage you to complete the Pre-Visit Family History Questionnaire and return to us prior to the appointment. You may need to contact relatives and obtain information regarding their health and cancer history.
- It is important to include information on your siblings, children, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and first cousins, even if they have not had cancer.
- The information that is most helpful includes:
- Which relatives have had cancer
- Their age at diagnosis
- The specific organ where the cancer originated
- The diagnosis of any benign tumors or pre-cancerous findings, such as colon polyps and skin growths
- The current age of all relatives, even if they have not had cancer, or the age at death
- If a family member has had genetic testing, please bring a copy of his/her laboratory test results to the appointment.
- Our clinic scheduler will determine prior to your appointment whether or not the appointment is covered by your health insurance and if a pre-authorization is needed. Please see this page for more information about insurance and billing at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
- Insurance coverage for genetic testing varies among health insurance policies. If required, a pre-authorization for the appropriate genetic test will be submitted by our staff following the visit. Otherwise, the genetic testing laboratory will notify you directly about out-of-pocket expenses. Most laboratories offer reduced fees depending on financial need; please bring this up with your genetic counselor.
- Consultations with the Familial Cancer Program are confidential and protected under the federal HIPAA law
- In 2008, a federal law was passed called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which protects individuals against health insurance or employment discrimination based on their genetic information. Please ask your genetic counselor about any privacy concerns you may have.