Have You Inherited a Risk for Cancer?
New Cancer Risk Program
Cheryl Decker, MD, serves as the Medical Director of the new Cancer Risk Program at Mission Hope. To make an appointment with Dr. Decker, please call 805.346.3456.
Did you know that approximately 10% of cancers are hereditary? That is why knowing your family history is an important first step in understanding your risks for developing the disease. Genetic testing can reveal your inherited cancer risk.
Hereditary cancers occur when a person carries a change (mutation) in a gene that normally protects the body from developing cancer. This change increases a person’s risk for one or more types of cancer and can be passed from generation to generation.
Families with one of these mutations may have multiple cases of these cancers.
A genetic test can tell if a mutation exists in your family. If you test positive for a gene mutation, your lifetime risk for cancer is higher. However, there are options available for lowering your cancer risk and for detecting cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.
If you have already been diagnosed with cancer, genetic test results may change your treatment and follow up options.
• A positive genetic test result does not guarantee that you will have cancer, but it does mean that you are at higher risk for developing cancer.
• A negative genetic test result does not mean that you will never have cancer.
• Your risk for cancer will depend not only on your genetic test result but on other factors such as family history and environmental influences.
How to Get Started
Know your heritable cancer risks. To help you assess your risk for inheriting cancer and whether you may benefit from further testing, Mission Hope has designed a hereditary cancer risk survey. Come into Mission Hope (second floor) and pick up a free survey. Complete the survey and, if indicated, return it to us. We will contact you for the next step. Blood testing is covered by your health insurance if you meet the criteria for genetic evaluation by a certified genetic counselor. Additional expenses include a Mission Hope physician referral appointment and a $295 counseling fee. If you need help completing the survey or have questions regarding genetic testing, please contact the Cancer Risk Program at 805.346.3456.