University of Colorado Hospital’s Hereditary Cancer Clinic in metro Denver provides early screenings, risk assessments and education to preserve and support the health of patients who have a higher hereditary risk of cancer.

Some people have a higher-than-average risk of developing cancer because of their family or personal history.

For them, prevention and early detection are two of the most powerful weapons they have to reduce the possibility of the occurrence or recurrence of cancer. The hereditary cancer team at the University of Colorado Cancer Center guides these patients through the early screening, risk assessment and education needed to preserve and support health.

Evaluating and teaching

Our team evaluates patients’ risks and teaches them about cancer warning signs, the importance of regular screenings, and the lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk. They also help patients decide whether to be tested for genes linked to certain cancers, such as breast, colon, and ovarian cancer.

In addition, patients may benefit from the Cancer Center’s research into cancer’s genetic causes.

Learn more by asking your physician for a referral, or by scheduling an appointment at the clinic number above.


Evaluating family history for cancer risk

While scientists are still learning what causes cancer, we do know that both environmental and inherited factors play a role.

Families at risk for hereditary cancer often have members who are diagnosed younger than age 50 and/or have multiple family members who have had cancer. These families should be seen by a genetic counselor for review of their family’s cancer history.

But the good news is that many cancers, if detected early, can be treated successfully. Some cancers are even preventable with regular screening.

Reviewing your family history

A review of your family history will allow us to provide you a cancer risk assessment and to determine whether genetic testing would aid in cancer risk assessment for you and/or other family members.

Family History Questionnaire

Call us at the clinic number above to request a family history questionnaire, which we ask that you complete and submit to us prior to your visit.

If one or more of the following situations applies to you or your immediate family, please consider making an appointment with us:

  • You were diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40 or colon cancer before age 50.
  • Same type of cancer diagnosed in two or more relatives (especially if diagnosed under the age of 50).
  • Two or more relatives diagnosed with related cancers:
    – Colon and Endometrial (uterus)
    – Breast and Ovarian
  • Many relatives in your family have had cancer (especially if they were young at diagnosis)
  • You or a relative has had a rare cancer.
  • You or a relative has had more than one type of cancer.

Do I need genetic testing?

Genetic counselors (experts in genetics and cancer) can perform a “cancer risk assessment” to help determine if the pattern of cancer in your family is hereditary. It is a complex process that may involve a review of your and your family’s history of cancer. Based on this information, genetic testing may or may not be recommended.

The testing process is different for every individual. By scheduling a cancer risk assessment you are just agreeing to gain more information and learn if genetic testing is appropriate for you.