Our expert team helps identify and support families with inherited cancer syndromes and provides personalized recommendations to manage cancer risk. We do this through hereditary cancer risk assessment, genetic education and testing, and interpretation of genetic test results. Our goal is to deliver accurate information about your hereditary cancer risk and genetic test results to ensure tyou can make informed prevention and treatment decisions for you and your family
Are You At Risk?
Some clues that there may be a hereditary cancer risk in your family are:
• Relatives diagnosed with cancer at younger ages than expected (often under age 50)
• Multiple relatives with the same type of cancer
• Relatives with rare types of cancer
• Multiple cancer diagnoses in the same person
If you’re worried about hereditary cancer in your family, talk with your doctor and ask for a referral to our Cancer Genetics and Prevention Service if appropriate.
We currently offer telemedicine visits as well as in-person visits at the main Johns Hopkins Hospital location in downtown Baltimore.
CANCER GENETICS AND PREVENTION SERVICE
You may be surprised to learn that all cancer is genetic, but not all cancer is hereditary. What does that mean? First, let’s talk about genes. Genes are the instructions for our bodies. They tell our bodies how to grow and develop and do all the processes that we need to stay alive. Sometimes there are alterations (also called mutations) that cause a problem with these instructions and can cause health problems. We know that cancer is a genetic disease. Cancer occurs when cells develop alterations in genes that allow the cells to grow in new ways and form tumors. In about 5-10% of cases, there is a genetic alteration that the patient was born with that put them at higher risk to develop cancer. This is what we mean when we talk about hereditary cancer. Hereditary cancers are often seen in multiple relatives within a family. Scientists have identified many alterations in genes that can increase a person’s risk of cancer. A genetic test can often tell whether there is a hereditary risk for cancer in a family. This means that the person has a higher chance for certain cancers than other people do. Often, there are steps that can be taken to reduce this risk or detect cancer early.
In this service, our experienced doctors and genetic counselors see patients with personal and family histories of a wide range of cancers. This includes patients with and without cancer and those who have already had genetic testing. The list of known hereditary causes of cancer continues to grow. Some of the inherited cancer syndromes we commonly see include:
• Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC)
• Lynch syndrome
• Polyposis syndromes, such as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
• Familial Pancreatic Cancer
• Hereditary Paraganglioma-Pheochromocytoma Syndrome (PGL/PCC)
If you or your doctor are concerned about your increased risk for cancer based on your personal or family history, we are happy to review your history, provide a risk assessment, and give you individual health recommendations.
It is very important to complete and return your intake forms before your appointment so that we can make the visit worth your while.
If you or a close relative have had genetic testing, make sure to send that information as well.
Your initial appointment will be 60 minutes. Please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time to check in for in-person visits or log on 15 minutes before for a tele-health visit.
During your visit, you will meet with a genetic counselor and/or one of our doctors, depending on your case. At the visit, we will:
• Review your personal and family cancer history and assess your cancer risk.
• Talk about the option of genetic testing including the process, possible results, cost, and any other concerns you may have.
• Help you decide whether to have genetic testing now. If indicated, we can get a DNA sample and order the testing at your in person visit or send a test kit to your home.
• Provide cancer screening and risk reduction recommendations as appropriate.
Our experts are dedicated to the early detection, prevention and treatment of cancer. Our team shares an unwavering commitment to high-quality clinical care and continuous innovation. In addition to working with patients, our experts consult with providers inside and outside Johns Hopkins, participate in the molecular tumor board, educate professionals and the public, contribute to national guidelines and conduct research in cancer genetics and prevention.
Breast and gynecology medical oncologist with expertise in cancer genetics
Gastroenterologist specializing in cancer genetics
Director of the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Service, breast medical oncologist with expertise in cancer genetics, cancer epidemiology, and prevention
Katie Fiallos, ScM, CGC
Hereditary cancer genetic counselor
Dana Petry, ScM, CGC
Hereditary cancer genetic counselor