Advancing Cancer Genetic Services

Predicting risk through Cancer Genetic Services

Doctors and medical staff have known for some time that some cancers seem to “run in family”. This has become known as cancer genetic testing.

The ability to predict the risk of cancer resulting from inheritance has become a key area of medical research at St Vincent’s. Because of this, doctors can draw on test results to inform their treatment choices and decision making. Importantly this genetic testing provides advice to family members with regard to cancer prevention. Over time, this has become a proven approach in the management of many cancers including breast and bowel cancer.

In addition, St Vincent’s Cancer Genetic Service has made advances to this research including publishing the first Australian study of prostate cancer gene testing. The service acts as a referral base for genomics research in the Kinghorn Cancer Centre.

What is Genetic Counselling?

Genetic Counselling occurs before or after genetic testing takes place and covers many aspects of the testing process including:

  • Risk assessment based on family and individual medical history
  • The risks, benefits and implications of test results
  • Future risks of passing a variant to children
  • Specific tests that will be performed
  • Patient support, referrals to support groups and other information

How you can help

Professor Allan Spigelman leads the Cancer Genetic Service at St Vincent’s Hospital which cares for thousands of families across Sydney and rural and regional NSW.

Over the past 20 years the caseload for this service has grown from 10 patients a year to over 1,000 and the number continues to rise.

That is why we are raising funds for an additional Cancer Genetic Counsellor and resources for our care co-ordination staff.

Help us to meet the increasing demand, and ensure we provide the most efficient, compassionate care to those in need.