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Genetic counseling

VCU Massey Cancer Center’s Familial Cancer Clinic is the only one of its kind in the Richmond area staffed by certified genetic counselors accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counselors. The program provides genetic testing and counseling to help individuals determine their family history and cancer risk, a prevention plan and treatment, if necessary. The Clinic offers full counseling services for all types of cancers, as well as access to clinical trials. For cancer patients, certified counselors serve as part of a multidisciplinary cancer care team.

Our services include:

  • Review and consultation by a team of board-certified clinical geneticists, genetic counselors and cancer specialists
  • Diagnosis of genetic conditions and cancer risk assessment
  • Tailored cancer screening recommendations
  • Comprehensive discussion of preventive measures, including chemoprevention and prophylactic surgery
  • Information for other family members
  • Discussion and facilitation of genetic testing
  • Information about appropriate research programs and/or clinical trials
  • Referrals to other specialists necessary for comprehensive and tailored care

When are genetic services needed?

Many features 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 physician or genetic counselor for a diagnosis and a complete list of characteristics.

Family history checklist:

___ 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 member
___ Bilateral cancers (two cancers that develop independently in a paired organ, i.e., 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

Information to collect before a genetic counseling appointment

Your genetic counselor will want to know some information about your medical history, risk factors you may have for cancer, and your family history of cancer. It is helpful to know how family members with cancer are related to you, what type of cancer they had, and how old they were when the cancer was found. Information from both mother’s and father’s side is important, if known. Please complete our pre-appointment health form before your appointment.

More information

To make an appointment, please phone (804) 828-7999. If you have questions or would like to discuss your situation, please contact:

John Quillin, Ph.D., C.G.C., (804) 628-1925
Heather Creswick, M.S., C.G.C., (804) 828-6245

Additional resources:

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With more than 150 top cancer specialists serving the needs of our patients, Massey’s health care team provides a wealth of expertise in cancer diagnosis, treatment, prevention and symptom management.

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