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Please note: This article is part of the Cancer Center's News Archive and is here for historical
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Led by Stephen Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor
of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology, the Cancer Genetics Clinic
at the University of Michigan is a service for people who are
concerned about their own risk or other family member's risk
of cancer. Although most cancers are not "inherited," some families
are particularly susceptible to cancer. These families may benefit
from early detection or other strategies to lower risk. The
specialists of the Cancer Genetics Clinic help patients and
their families understand genetic contributions to cancer and
develop personalized plans to manage their risk.
For some families, genetic testing can be a helpful tool and
may identify those family members who are at greatest risk for
developing cancer. When appropriate, this genetic testing may
be coordinated through the Cancer Genetics Clinic and management
recommendations can be formulated on the basis of test results.
For other families, comprehensive risk assessment and genetic
counseling provide enough information to develop a plan for
lowering the risk of cancer without testing.
The Cancer Genetics Clinic, in conjunction with the Breast and
Ovarian Cancer Risk Evaluation Program, provides counseling
for all types of cancer, including familial breast cancer, ovarian
cancer, cancer of the uterus, prostate cancer, melanoma, thyroid
cancer, sarcoma, childhood cancers, and other less common tumors.
In addition, clinicians with the Cancer Genetics Clinic have
a special expertise in providing counseling for hereditary forms
of colorectal cancer, including Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
(FAP) and Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC).
FAP is a rare condition in which individuals develop 100-1000's
of polyps in the colon and, without treatment, face a 100% risk
of developing colon cancer. Families with HNPCC are often recognized
by the presence of multiple members with colon cancer and other
cancers known to be associated with this condition, including
uterine, small intestine, ovarian, stomach, and bile duct cancers.
Screening and management recommendations for these and other
cases of familial colon cancer can be provided.
Appointments are generally 1 1/2 hour consultations that include
an overview of cancer genetics, a history and physical examination
to look for signs and symptoms of familial cancer, and individualized
counseling regarding strategies of how to lower the risk of
cancer. Patients are asked to complete (and return) a personal
and family history questionnaire prior to their appointment
so that the physicians and genetic counselors are informed about
the issues important to the family before the visit.
Cancer AnswerLine™ 800-865-1125 for more information.
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