Genetic Counseling and Risk Assessment

Genetic CounselingOnly 5 to 10 percent of cancer is hereditary, which means that most cancers are not inherited. However, you may be at risk for inherited cancer syndrome if you have a family member who has been diagnosed with:
  • a rare type of cancer, such as ovarian cancer or male breast cancer
  • cancer at less than 50 years of age 
  • multiple primary cancers 

At the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, we are the only cancer center in Oregon with board certified medical geneticists who are specialty- trained to determine the risk for inherited cancer syndromes. These specialized doctors and our genetic counselors are available to consult with you about your risk of inheriting cancer.

What to expect

At your genetic consultation, we will:

  • review your history of cancer, and/or your family history
  • discuss the genetics of cancer and genetic testing options 
  • conduct a personalized risk assessment including options to reduce your risk and screen for cancer.  

Recommendations are based upon your personal and family history and whether or not there is an inherited cancer syndrome in your family.

Some common inherited cancer syndromes are:

  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) – Families with HBOC have an increased risk for breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer. The genes associated with HBOC are BRCA1 and BRCA2.
  • Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) - Families with HNPCC have an increased risk for colorectal, uterine, stomach and ovarian cancers. The genes associated with HNPCC are MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2.
  • Cowden syndrome - Families with Cowden syndrome have an increased risk for breast, uterine and thyroid cancers. The gene associated with Cowden syndrome is PTEN.
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and attenuated FAP – Families with FAP or AFAP have an increased risk for colorectal, small bowel, pancreatic and thyroid cancers. The gene associated with FAP and AFAP is APC.
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome - Families with Li-Fraumeni syndrome have an increased risk for soft-tissue sarcoma, breast cancer, leukemia, osteosarcoma, melanoma, and colon, pancreatic, adrenal cortex and brain cancers.  The gene associated with Li-Fraumeni syndrome is p53.

Contact us

If you are interested in learning more about genetic testing and counseling or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 503 494-4800.

Our team

At OHSU Knight Cancer Institute our medical geneticists and genetic counselors work together to determine your risk for inherited cancer syndromes.