Determining the significance of a family history of cancer begins with a cancer risk assessment. A family tree is constructed to see who in the family has been diagnosed with cancer and what types of cancers they have had. Age at diagnosis and multiple cancer diagnoses also are considered. For some people, having a family history of certain types of cancers means that they have a higher chance of developing those same cancers.
Cancer genetic counseling helps make families aware of risks associated with hereditary cancers. For those who are found to have a higher chance of developing a specific cancer, the ultimate goal is early detection and prevention of the cancer. Possible strategies include increased cancer screening, guidelines for nutrition and exercise and sometimes medical intervention.
If you are interested in learning more about Cancer Genetic Counseling, call the University of South Carolina Genetic Counseling office at (803) 545-5775.