Main content

    Cancer Risk Program
    Sutter Solano Medical Center

    One in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in his or her lifetime. The reason cancer develops is often unknown, but it may be caused by a combination of factors, including environmental exposures or lifestyle. For five to 10 percent of individuals with cancer the disease has a hereditary component, meaning that the individual has inherited a change in DNA that increases the risk for cancer.

    Sutter Solano Cancer Center’s Cancer Risk Program includes an experienced board-certified genetic counselor who specializes in cancer care. We offer genetic counseling, risk assessment, genetic testing and cancer screening recommendations. Genetic testing services are performed at nationally accredited laboratories.

    Genetic Counseling
    Genetic counseling is a communication process that translates technical and complicated knowledge into practical information for individuals and their families. An individual is usually referred to us by a health care provider. The goals of the center are to:

    • Determine the likelihood that cancers in a family are inherited
    • Discuss options for early identification of cancer and risk reduction
    • Provide information about the benefits, risks and limitations of genetic testing
    • Coordinate genetic testing and to provide accurate interpretations of the results
    • Refer to appropriate research studies
    Why Seek Genetic Counseling?
    There are many reasons why people consider genetic counseling. For you, it may be because:
    • You’ve had cancer and are concerned about the risk of additional cancers for yourself and family members
    • A close family member or several family members have had cancer and you want to determine your risk
    If you and your family meet one or more of the following criteria, you may want to consider genetic consultation:

    • Multiple relatives on the same side of the family with the same types of cancer
    • Cancer that occurs at a young age (under the age of 50)
    • Rare cancers (male breast cancer)
    • Ashkenazi Jewish descent with breast cancer under age 50, or ovarian cancer at any age
    • Family member with a known cancer predisposition gene
    • Concern or anxiety about personal or family cancer risk

    The decision to pursue genetic counseling and testing is an individual decision. One of the goals of the genetic counseling session is to help the patient work through the decision-making process regarding testing.

    What can I expect from a genetic counseling session?
    At the first appointment a genetic counselor will collect information about your medical and family history and construct a pedigree. Prior to your appointment a family and medical history questionnaire will be mailed to you. The cancer risks to other family members are also discussed during a session. The genetic counselor will provide recommendations in terms of future cancer screening methods for the patient and their family based on specific family history and/or test results. During the session the counselor will discuss whether or not testing is appropriate, taking into consideration the patient’s medical and life situation.

    Genetic Testing
    Based on the family history of cancer, genetic testing may be appropriate. Depending on the test ordered, results may take as long as six to eight weeks. An appointment will be made at the initial session for a follow-up visit with the genetic counselor to receive and discuss your results.

    Contact
    To schedule an appointment or for more information, please contact the Sutter Solano Cancer Center at 707-551-3400.