About This Service
UT Health Austin’s Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction service provides adult patients (18 years and older) with access to a clinical genetic counselor who can help patients understand their risk for developing cancer as well as their options for prevention, early detection, and treatment. Hereditary cancer syndromes are caused by pathogenic variants (mutations) in genes that are meant to protect an individual from developing certain types of cancers. When these genes have pathogenic variants, it causes the genes to become non-functional (not function the way they should), which leads to an increased risk for developing cancer. We offer testing for genes that are related to increased risk for developing breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, gynecologic cancer, melanoma, and more. This includes the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome as well as genes associated with Lynch syndrome. Our goal is to connect you with the appropriate providers and services for any recommended screenings to reduce your risk for developing cancer, increase your chances of early detection, and improve your quality of life.
At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. The Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction care team includes clinical genetic counselors, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, onco-psychiatrists, nurses, advanced practice providers, dietitians, social workers, and more as well as other members of the CaLM Care Team who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you. We also work alongside specialists across Cancer Fertility Preservation, Digestive Health, Women’s Health, Primary Care, Dermatology, and more.
Through our Multidisciplinary Case Conferences, we collaborate with our colleagues at The University of Texas at Austin and the Dell Medical School to stay informed of the latest research, diagnostic, and surveillance techniques, and we partner with existing providers in the Austin area to ensure we can successfully connect you with services recommended as part of your personalized cancer screening plan. We also provide you with community resources and help coordinate high-risk surveillance so that you have support every step of the way. Advanced imaging and lab testing are also available on-site if needed.
At UT Health Austin, we focus on you, the whole patient, making sure that you have the support you need throughout your care. Prior to your initial appointment, it is important that you gather as much information about your own medical history as possible. Discuss your family history with your relatives to learn who in your family has been diagnosed with cancer, what type of cancer they were diagnosed with, how old they were at the time of the diagnosis, and any specific treatments they received. If other relatives have undergone genetic testing, it is useful to have a copy of their results as well. You will also be asked to fill out our online questionnaire called CancerGene Connect to assist with gathering this information. This questionnaire helps provide the Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction care team with a comprehensive overview of your personal medical history as well as any family history of cancer prior to your appointment. It also allows our genetic counselors to spend more time evaluating and discussing your concerns during your appointment.
We are also committed to clear and timely communication with you, your referring provider, and other healthcare specialists, beginning with your initial visit and continuing throughout your cycle of care. The Hereditary Cancer Screening and Risk Reduction care team will identify any existing records of treatment in the UT Health Austin system and communicate with your referring provider to obtain needed medical records and other information. If you have received medical treatment from a provider other than your referring provider, your care team will contact you to receive a written Authorization to Receive Medical Records from your other provider(s).
If you have not participated in genetic testing for hereditary cancer, our genetic counselors will perform a personalized cancer risk assessment by evaluating your personal and family history. Our counselors will also discuss the benefits and limitations of genetic testing as well as insurance coverage for genetic testing. If you decide not to pursue genetic testing, a personal cancer screening plan can still be developed based on your family history. If you choose to pursue genetic testing, your DNA will be collected through a blood or saliva sample. Once your results are available, our genetic counselors will discuss all test results with you and develop a cancer screening plan specific to your needs. If we determine you have a hereditary cancer syndrome, we work with you to coordinate any follow-up management you may need.
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UT Health Austin is housed in the Health Transformation Building (HTB). The HTB is located in downtown Austin, TX on The University of Texas at Austin campus and neighbors the Dell Medical School research and learning buildings as well as the Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.
This facility is outfitted with the latest state-of-the-art technology and organized to support an unmatched level of multidisciplinary care. Patients have access to all of the resources and amenities UT Health Austin has to offer, including attached garage parking, comfortable waiting areas, an on-site cafe, a full-service H-E-B pharmacy, advanced imaging and lab testing, and an Ambulatory Surgery Center for same-day surgical care.