There are many features that can be present in a family that would indicate a referral is needed for genetic services. The following is a general (partial) checklist of characteristics that may indicate an increased risk of familial cancer or a heritable cancer syndrome. The symptoms of genetic diseases may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis and a complete list of characteristics:
___ A family history of multiple cases of the same or related types of cancer
___ One or more relatives with rare cancers
___ Cancers occurring at an earlier age of onset than usual (for instance, under the age of 50 years) in at least one family member
___ Bilateral cancers (two cancers that develop independently in a paired organ, for example, both kidneys or both breasts)
___ One or more family members with two primary cancers (two original tumors that develop in different sites)
___ Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish background
Genetic services are usually available in large hospitals or medical centers. The local phone book or health care provider directory may help you identify a genetic service provider in your area. Consult your doctor for more information.
The National Cancer Institute has a website available to search for cancer genetic professionals by geographic area. This Cancer Genetics Services Directory (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/genetics/directory) is a directory of individuals who provide services related to cancer genetics (cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, genetic susceptibility testing, and others).
Genetic services can provide the following:
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Online Resources of Cancer Center