Assessing your risk
The goal of the Cancer Risk Management Program is to identify patients who are at increased risk of developing cancer and work with them to manage that risk. Experts in our program include nursing specialists, genetic counselors, and physicians. These providers conduct individualized cancer risk assessments and work together to design personalized cancer screening and prevention plans for patients and their families.
Who benefits from the program?
The program is designed for patients with an increased risk of cancer for personal or family history reasons. Family history concerns include early onset cancers or multiple cancers in the family. Patients with certain health conditions that increase the risk of cancer, such as ulcerative colitis, may benefit from further assessment and more frequent or additional cancer screening.
Consider genetic counseling if you have a personal or family history of the following:
Breast, Ovarian or Colon Cancer
- Breast cancer before age 50
- Multiple close relatives with breast cancer
- Triple negative breast cancer, any age
- Male breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer, any age
- Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and breast or ovarian cancer
- Colon & Endometrial
- Colon or rectal cancer before age 50
- Endometrial cancer before age 50
- Multiple (>10) colon polyps
- Multiple close relatives with colon or endometrial cancer
Other Rare Cancers
- Two or more melanomas
- Two or more pancreatic cancers
- Two or more sarcomas or brain tumors
- Medullary thyroid cancer, pheochromocytoma, adrenal or kidney cancer
- Cancer treatment completed less than 5 years ago and additional surveillance is needed
- Ulcerative colitis
- Fibrocystic breast disease
- Other cancer risk factors
Preparing for the appointment
In order to make efficient use of our clinic time together, when possible we ask patients to gather the following prior to their appointment:
- Medical records from their previous cancer diagnosis or relevant health condition
- Medical records documenting previous cancer screening (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.)
- Copies of any previous genetic testing
- Information about their family history of cancer including type of cancer and age when relatives were diagnosed
What to expect
Depending on the reason for referral, patients will have their first appointment either with our genetic counselor, the nurse specialist, or back to back appointments with both providers.
Genetic Counseling involves:
- Obtaining family cancer history
- Discussing how cancer is inherited in families
- Reviewing available genetic testing options
- Discussing implications of genetic testing for patients and their relatives
- Making appropriate cancer screening recommendations
Meeting with a clinical nurse specialist involves:
- A limited physical exam
- Discussion of cancer prevention
- Developing an individualized plan for cancer screening and surveillance
- Ongoing cancer risk management
Specialists at University of Minnesota Physicians Cancer Care at Fairview and around the world are continuously looking for new genetic markers and indicators of cancer. They are creating tests to identify these markers while researchers are developing better ways to prevent cancer in high-risk individuals.
Talk to your doctor about making a referral to the Cancer Risk Management Program. If he or she is a Fairview or University of Minnesota physician, they can make a referral through your electronic medical record by ordering "Cancer Risk Mgmt/Cancer Genetic Counseling."