Everyone is at risk for cancer, but if your patients have had cancer, or have a family history of cancers, he or she might be at a higher risk than the general public.
Genomics is the study of genetic (hereditary) factors behind diseases. The Cancer Genomics Program receives CDC grant funding to increase the use of family health history, genetic counseling, testing, and risk management services for BRCA 1/2 and Lynch Syndrome mutations.
These mutations can greatly increase a person’s risk of breast, ovarian, colorectal or uterine cancers.
Knowing the risk factors for hereditary cancers helps you assist your patients in making lifestyle choices that might prevent cancer and inform them if they should speak to a genetic counselor.
Genetic counseling is a process where someone trained in genetics (inherited traits):
People with a family history, or with a personal history of breast, ovarian, uterine, or colon cancer, should meet with a genetic counselor to find out if genetic testing is right for them.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that protect a person from getting certain cancers. Women who have a mutation (change) in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene are more likely to get breast and/or ovarian cancer.
Even men who have a mutation are at risk for prostate cancer and breast cancer. Both men and women are also at risk for pancreatic cancer and melanoma.
BRCA 1/2 mutations are more likely to be present in families with a strong history of breast and/or ovarian cancer. Knowing if a person has a BRCA 1/2 mutation can help them to make choices that can reduce their risk of cancer.
People with Lynch Syndrome are much more likely to develop colorectal cancer, a type of uterine cancer called endometrial cancer, and other cancers. Blood relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews are also at a risk of having Lynch Syndrome.
Lynch Syndrome is more likely in families where people have colon cancer before age 50 or women who have uterine cancer. The only way to know if someone has Lynch syndrome is through genetic testing. Knowing if someone has Lynch Syndrome can help them make choices that can reduce their chances of developing colorectal cancer.
Find a genetic counselor near you.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has recommendations for patients who should be considered for genetic counseling.
Encouraging your patients to know and act on their family health history is a way to help protect their health. Patients should collect their family health history and share it with their doctor.
Continued professional development of healthcare professionals is crucial to reduce the incidence of cancer and cancer mortality in Utah.
Getting Utah women screened for breast and cervical cancer is the primary goal of the UCCP’s Breast and Cervical program.
Here you can access resources from the recruitment toolkit and media campaigns to use in your community.
To contact someone from the Utah Cancer Genomics Program, email Camille Roundy.