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Wilmot Cancer Institute / Specialty Services / Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction Program

Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction Program

Wilmot’s Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction program is designed to help individuals and families with inherited cancer syndromes or a family history of cancer. Based at Wilmot's Pluta Cancer Center, this program is led by medical oncologist Michelle Shayne, M.D., nurse practitioner Carol Lustig, RN MSN ANP-BC, and nurse practitioner Ashley Hendershot, DNP, FNP-BC. They can:

  • Assess your cancer risk.
  • Develop a personalized cancer screening plan.
  • Provide recommendations for risk-reducing measures.
  • Offer guidance for talking with your family about their cancer risk.

You have the option to come to the Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction Program every year to review and update your personalized cancer screening plan. Annual appointments also allow us to keep you up to date about new research findings about cancer genetics and revise your personalized screening plan based on new research on cancer genetics.

Who should be seen at this clinic?

The Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction program is open to anyone with:

  • A known personal or family history of a genetic mutation that increases the risk of cancer.
  • A family history of multiple cancers on the same side of the family.
  • A personal or family history of developing cancer at age 50 or younger.
  • A personal or family history of rare cancers, including ovarian cancer, male breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer, colorectal cancer with abnormal MSI-associated histology, or endometrial cancer with abnormal MSI.

What to expect at the appointment?

If you have never had cancer genetic testing: You will meet with a genetic counselor or nurse practitioner with a special interest in cancer genetics. The appointment will take about one hour.

During this appointment, the provider will:

  • Ask you questions about your family history of cancer.
  • Teach you some basics about cancer genetics.
  • Discuss genetic testing options and possible results.
  • Discuss the limitations and risks to genetic testing.
  • Talk to you about insurance coverage for genetic testing.

You will decide, with your team’s guidance, if genetic testing is right for you and your family.

If you decide to proceed with genetic testing, you can have blood drawn the same day to start the testing process. Results are typically available within four weeks. You will have an appointment in Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction Program to review the results. At this visit your team will:

  • Discuss the results of genetic testing and significance.
  • Develop a personal cancer screening plan and strategies to lower your risk of cancer, regardless of the test results.
  • Help you to inform your family about the potential for hereditary cancers.

Even if you decide not to have genetic testing done or you do not qualify for testing, you have the option to have cancer screening based on your family history. Your team will develop a personal surveillance plan and list of risk-reduction strategies.

If you already know you carry an inherited gene mutation or have a hereditary cancer syndrome: You will meet with a doctor and nurse practitioner who have a special interest in hereditary cancer syndromes. The appointment will take about an hour. At the appointment they will talk about:

  • Your family history of cancer and specifics of the gene mutation.
  • Your personal risk of cancer.
  • Your personalized cancer screening plan.
  • Steps you can take to lower your risk of cancer.
  • How to inform your family about the potential for hereditary cancers.
  • How to cope with the emotional impact of a hereditary cancer syndrome.

To make an appointment, please call 585-275-5863.

How can I prepare for my appointment?

Learn as much as you can about the medical history of your family. Ask specifically about the history of cancer in your family. Sometimes it is difficult to know all the details about someone’s illness. Just get as much information as you can.

Also ask about:

  • What country or region your ancestors emigrated from.
  • Relatives who had cancer, including mother, father, sisters, brothers, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandparents, great aunts, great uncles and great grandparents.
  • Where in the body their cancer started or originated. For example: colon, breast or prostate.
  • How old they were when they were diagnosed
  • Whether anyone has had any colon polyps, and if so, how many.

Who else is on the team?

After your personalized cancer screening plan is made, we will refer you to cancer screening specialists who have an expertise in hereditary cancer syndromes. For example, if you need to have colonoscopies routinely, we can arrange for you to be seen by a gastroenterologist who specializes in colon screening for those who carry an increased risk of developing cancer because of an inherited genetic syndrome. 

Cancer screening recommendations are made based on national comprehensive cancer guidelines, as well as the consensus of a multidisciplinary conference which meets monthly.   

This multidisciplinary team approach is unique to this program. For each inherited cancer syndrome, there are many organs that can be affected. We utilize the experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center to screen for cancer early and often. Early detection is key to the best outcome.