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Hereditary Cancer

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Hereditary Cancer

Many hereditary cancer syndromes are linked to alterations in single genes. The Hereditary Cancer Clinic provides coordinated care for health problems related to these syndromes.

706-721-6744
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Hereditary cancer syndromes are genetic disorders that are passed down from parents to children. These genetic disorders can put you at a higher risk of developing certain cancers. Approximately 10-15% of cancers are due to an inherited gene mutation, and there are over 80 such genes, so, finding out if you carry one is key to detecting early-stage cancer while it's still curable.

Hereditary cancer syndromes are genetic disorders that are passed down from parents to children. These genetic disorders can put you at a higher risk of developing certain cancers. Approximately 10-15% of cancers are due to an inherited gene mutation, and there are over 80 such genes, so, finding out if you carry one is key to detecting early-stage cancer while it's still curable.

Are you at risk?

Inherited gene mutations can indicate increased risk for some cancers including breast, ovarian, colon, uterine, prostate, stomach, pancreatic, melanoma, or other rare cancers.

You should be screened for a hereditary cancer syndrome if:

  • Multiple close relatives are affected by cancer
  • Multiple cancers occur in one person
  • Cancer is diagnosed at a young age (younger than 45 years of age)
  • Diagnosis is made of certain cancers such as colon, pancreas, ovary or endometrium.
  • Genetic testing for another disorder reveals an unsuspected mutation that causes a hereditary syndrome.

Georgia Cancer Center’s Hereditary Cancer Clinic is patient- and family-centered with dedicated resources to support patients and their families. We offer,

  • Expertise: There are approximately 20 hereditary cancer syndromes that are caused by over 80 genes, this includes hereditary breast cancer, hereditary ovarian cancer and Lynch syndrome. Each syndrome is associated with a specific subset of cancers and other health problems. As a result, our field is experiencing an explosive growth in knowledge that we use to help our patients avoid life-threatening cancer.
  • Teamwork: Hereditary Tumor Board meetings are held biweekly. The board reviews complex cases and makes recommendations for risk assessment, diagnosis, surveillance and referrals. We encourage medical specialists from around the region to contact us to discuss challenging cases by sending an email to johenson@augusta.edu.
  • Telegenetics: For patients who live far away, we offer virtual visits that can include risk assessment, ongoing surveillance and coordination of care. These appointments are scheduled the same as in-person appointments.

Genetic Counseling

When you come to us, we review your family’s cancer history to determine the potential hereditary cancer syndrome specific to you. If there is a likelihood of increased cancer risk, we will go over the benefits and limitations of genetic testing and arrange for you to be tested.

If you have previously had a genetic test showing a mutation, the genetic counselor will review any new questions, discuss recent advances, and review current recommendations for cancer monitoring and prevention.

Since the syndromes are hereditary, other family members can be at higher risk for cancer, so, we actively encourage potentially at-risk relatives to seek counseling and testing.

Genetic Testing

A blood or saliva sample is sent to a specialized laboratory where testing is conducted for hereditary cancer mutations. In some cases, based on personal and family medical history, the genetic counselor may then recommend additional testing.

If a tumor has already been removed, that tissue is usually included in testing along with blood or saliva.

Surveillance Planning

If patients are found to have a hereditary cancer syndrome, a detailed plan for surveillance is recommended. There are approximately 40 different types of specialized surveillance tests that are carefully chosen to give the best chance of early detection.

Hereditary Cancer Clinic

The clinic provides cancer genetic counseling, hereditary cancer risk assessment, genetic testing and results interpretation with counseling, hereditary cancer surveillance planning and management and coordination of subspecialist referrals.

Some of the hereditary cancer syndromes we manage in our Hereditary Cancer Clinic include:

  • APC-associated polyposis hereditary conditions
  • Birt Hogg Dubé syndrome
  • Cowden syndrome/PHTS
  • Gorlin syndrome
  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancers
  • Hereditary leiomyoma and renal cell carcinoma
  • Hereditary pheochromocytoma/Paraganglioma
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2
  • MUTYH associated polyposis (MAP)
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
  • Retinoblastoma

Neurofibromatosis Clinic

Neurofibromatosis is hereditary disorder specific to the nervous system. The Georgia Cancer Center provides patients with neurofibromatosis specialized care in a subspecialty clinic for patients age 18 years and older.

Some of the common hereditary cancer syndromes managed in the Neurofibromatosis Clinic include:

  • Neurofibromatosis type 1
  • Neurofibromatosis type 2
  • Tuberous sclerosis complex
  • Von Hippel Lindau syndrome

We are committed to seeing each patient as soon as possible. A patient, family member, or referring physician can request an appointment. Urgent referrals are welcome.

To make an appointment or place a referral to the hereditary cancer clinic, please call 706-721-6744.

For referring physicians

  • Please call Shelia Hall, BSN at 706-446-5190, one of our specialists will call you back if you would like to speak directly with them.
  • Time sensitive referrals are welcome.

Patient Information

For your first appointment, please bring your:

  • Medial History Form
  • Picture ID and insurance information
  • Please send us a copy of any original genetic test reports for you or your family members. If you have difficulty getting the original report, we can help you.
  • Please complete a Family History Form and bring it to your appointment.

Our Providers

Augusta University Medical Center specialists provide care and support throughout your entire healthcare journey.

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