About Our Hereditary Cancer Risk Program

Providing information to help make informed choices

Genetic Risk Assessment

Family history or genetic factors can increase an individual’s risk for cancer. Our Hereditary Cancer Risk Program offers cancer risk assessment for individuals who may have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers. Our comprehensive program focuses on family history and genetics, but it also takes into account personal and environmental factors that contribute to one’s health status. When you are equipped with knowledge about your potential cancer risk, you can make informed decisions about prevention, early detection strategies, and available treatments. Many preventative options include such basic lifestyle choices as diet, level of physical activity, and avoidance of certain habits.

Our genetic specialists work with you to determine your level of risk. The program includes:

  • In-depth assessment of personal health history
  • Thorough evaluation of cancer history in the family
  • Individual and/or family genetic education and counseling
  • Genetic testing, including testing for mutations in specific genes, when indicated. (Test results take a minimum of four weeks)

Who Benefits From This Service?

Certain cancers do run in the family. Research has shown a genetic link of up to 10 percent for certain cancers – breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancers among them. Non-hereditary factors, either independently or in combination with such genetic factors as age, multiple past diagnoses, or consistent health issues, can also influence a patient’s cancer risk. It is a combination of your personal history with your family history that is most informative when it comes to determining your potential risk for developing cancer.

You may benefit from genetic risk assessment of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers if you and/or your family’s history includes the following:

  • Breast cancer diagnosis at or before age 50
  • Male breast cancer diagnosis at any age
  • Ovarian cancer diagnosis at any age
  • Two or more separate breast or ovarian cancer diagnoses in the same individual
  • Any relative with a confirmed BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation

Similar indicators have been identified to assess the risk of hereditary colorectal cancer and endometrial cancer:

  • Colorectal cancer diagnosis at or before age 50
  • Endometrial cancer diagnosis at or before age 50
  • Two or more separate diagnoses of colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, or gastric cancer in two or more family members
  • Multiple colorectal polyps in the same individual

Insurance Coverage

Our Hereditary Cancer Risk Program consists of three separate visits. The first is an intake and assessment visit. The second and third steps consist of genetic testing and follow-up consultation, as needed. Many insurance companies cover the cost of genetic counseling and genetic testing when medically indicated. Pre-authorization may be needed for some managed care programs.

For more information, email genetics@hackensackmeridianhealth.org or call 732-776-4647 to make an appointment.

To learn more about our hereditary cancer risk program, visit HackensackMeridianHealth.org/Cancer