Family history is the most consistent risk factor for nearly early disease (1)
As a family physician, taking a thorough family history is an important part of my care.
Approximately 20% of women with breast cancer have a positive family history and this is one of the most common reasons for referral to a cancer genetics clinic. (2)
Patients with a significant family history for many types of cancer including common cancers such as colon cancer, ovarian cancer and kidney cancer may be eligible for a genetic consultation +/- genetic testing. The cancer genetics clinic at Juravinski recently updated their referral guidelines (include link to this within our resources page) which can also be found on their website: hamiltonhealthscience.ca/cancergenetics, along with additional information about the referral process. This document was developed after receiving community feedback requesting some more information about appropriate referrals. These guidelines reflect general ‘red flags’ that primary care may look for when reviewing family histories of cancer and highlight when it might be appropriate to discuss with their patient a referral to cancer genetics. The Cancer Genetics Clinic at the JCC is the only service providing genetic counselling for hereditary cancer in our LHIN. In response to the COVID pandemic, genetic counselling is offered virtually through telephone or OTN video visits.
Specific patient-related questions can be directed to the genetic counsellors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-387-9711 x 64636.
(1) www.fmpe.org Practise Based Small Group Learning Program Vol. 27 (9), August 2013.
(2) Dr. Andrea Eisen, Oncologist, co-chair of Cancer Care Ontario’s Breast Site Group