Cancer Genetics Program
The Cancer Genetics Telemedicine Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Williamsport offers cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling to help determine if your personal or family cancer history is due to an inherited susceptibility. By connecting patients directly to UPMC specialists in Pittsburgh, we are able to provide education, cancer risk assessments, and research opportunities for people concerned about their risk for cancer. Genetics professionals work closely with specialists at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center to ensure you receive individualized and comprehensive care.
Who may benefit from a cancer genetics consultation
People who are concerned about their personal or family cancer history may benefit from genetic counseling. The program helps you and your physicians make informed decisions about your health care based on risk assessment and, in some cases, genetic test results.
Any person concerned about his or her family or personal history of cancer can find value in having cancer risk assessment. Below are some reasons for which cancer risk consults should be considered:
- Families that have two or more relatives on the same side of the family with the same type of cancer or with related cancers — such as ovarian, breast, or colon cancers.
- People who have had, or whose relatives have had:
- Cancer, such as breast or colon, that occurred before the age of 50.
- Primary cancers in both breasts, kidneys, or adrenal glands.
- Two different primary cancers — such as primary breast and ovarian cancers, primary breast and colon cancers, or primary uterine and colon cancers.
- A rare cancer — such as male breast cancer, retinoblastoma, medullary thyroid cancer, or pheochromocytoma.
- A cancer that has a higher likelihood of being related to a genetic cause, such as ovarian, pancreatic, or metastatic prostate cancer.
- A known change in a cancer predisposition gene.
Having a genetic consult may help address worry about cancer risk and provide a better understanding of risk and measures that can be taken.
Based on the risk assessment and the counseling session, screening guidelines will be reviewed, and genetic testing may be offered.
Your insurance may cover your genetic counseling and subsequent screening and testing. Insurance companies typically determine coverage on a case-by-case basis.
Before your appointment
- You will need to gather information about your family and its medical history related to cancer.
- You may need to provide medical records to further help with your risk assessment.
Your genetics team will use this information to develop a family tree, which will be used to assess your cancer risks.
During your appointment
At your appointment at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Williamsport on the campus of UPMC Williamsport Divine Providence Campus, you will meet in person with our clinic nurse and have a video conference with one of our medical geneticists Michael Bashford, MD and Phuong L. Mai, MD. Together, they will provide cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling/testing based on personal and family cancer histories.
Your team will discuss:
- how inherited and environmental factors may contribute to the cancer(s) in you and/or your family.
- how cancer risks may affect you and your family.
- genetic testing (a blood or saliva test), including the risks, benefits, limitations, and costs.
- your cancer screening options.
- available research studies.
Your genetics team will provide information about services and specialists, which may include:
- cancer screening.
- surgery consultation.
- specialists in cancer risk management.
- social workers.
- nutrition experts.
Provider referral and patient self-referrals are accepted. To make an appointment with one of our cancer genetics physicians, or for more information, call 1-800-454-8156. (All breast cancer assessments can be referred to the Breast Health Center at UPMC Williamsport Divine Providence Campus, 570-326-8200.)