Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment

Genetic Counselors

Dawn McIlvried, MS, CGC (left)
and Stephanie Cohen, MS, CGC

Genetic Counselors

The St.Vincent Hospital Cancer Genetics Team includes board-certified and specially trained genetic counselors who assess family cancer risk and provide clinically relevant information in a supportive environment. Our genetic counselors work within a multi-disciplinary cancer care team. Additionally, they provide genetics consultation and collaboration for smaller St.Vincent Health community hospitals to allow patients to remain within their community and receive local care.

Am I at Risk?

Everyone has a risk of developing cancer, which increases with age. Most individuals who develop cancer do not have a family history. If you have a family member with cancer, your risk for cancer may be increased. It is very important to be familiar with your family and personal health history.

Is Cancer Genetic?

genetics piechart

Cancer may be caused by abnormal gene changes known as mutations. Mutations accumulate over time, leading to sporadic cancer. Sometimes environmental factors influence the accumulation of mutations. In a small percentage of families, a gene mutation can be passed on from generation to generation. Inherited mutations may predispose those who are carriers to develop particular types of cancer. Not everyone with an inherited mutation will develop cancer, although the risks are increased.

How Can I Learn About My Risk for Cancer?

The Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment Program at St.Vincent Cancer Care offers genetic counseling and, in some cases, genetic testing to assess your risk for hereditary cancer. This process is intended to answer your questions and concerns about cancer risks and provide information regarding the risk to you and your close relatives.

Who Should Consider Genetic Counseling?

If you or a close relative has had:

  • Cancer at a young age (under age 50)
  • Multiple primary cancers or bilateral cancer
  • Two or more close relatives with cancer, especially of the same type
  • A relative who is a known carrier of an inherited cancer susceptibility
  • Concern about your family history of cancer