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The Cancer Predisposition Program at Lurie Children’s provides comprehensive genetic counseling and testing services to pediatric oncology patients and families at risk of hereditary cancer syndromes. We also provide management guidance and recommendations to families, based on the results of personalized cancer risk assessments. Our services are also appropriate for adolescent or young adult cancer survivors who would like to investigate their chance of passing on a hereditary cancer risk to their future children.
Certain hereditary cancer syndromes that appear in childhood are associated with an increased risk of a second primary cancer in childhood or later in life. Examples of these hereditary cancers can include, but are not limited to:
Our program is a partnership between genetics and oncology specialists. It brings these unique areas of expertise together to create a specialized risk assessment for cancer predisposition. We take a personalized approach to care, adjusting each risk assessment to meet the unique needs of each patient and family. We typically use either single gene or panel-based genetic tests to identify certain genetic mutations that are linked to cancer or tumor development and can indicate increased risk.
During the visit, a 3-generation family tree will be collected with special attention to tumor types, ages of diagnosis, whether the tumor was bilateral in nature (i.e. Wilms tumor) and additional health conditions or physical features that may be related to genetic risk. This information is vital in determining what hereditary cancer syndrome(s) the patient and/or family is at risk of and should subsequently be offered genetic testing for. Genetic testing is optional and patients and families will be provided with information regarding the risks, benefits, and limitations of testing as well as support in their decision making process.
Our team is also focused on cancer predisposition research. We are in the process of building research programs and multi-institution collaborations to share knowledge with pediatric specialists across the nation.
What to Expect
Our team integrates with your child’s current care team to provide a seamless experience that compliments your child’s treatment plan. If your child is not being currently treated at Lurie Children’s, our program can provide a risk assessment, and recommend a surveillance plan and schedule to your child’s existing care team.
To meet all of the family and patient’s needs, our program offers support services to help each family navigate treatment. Our dedicated genetic counselor also aids each family with navigating insurance questions and applications to help secure maximum coverage for the patient. We also offer genetic testing for parents and siblings on a case by case basis, to determine if they are also at increased risk due to a hereditary cancer predisposition.
Multidisciplinary Care Helps Paola Overcome Rare Adrenal Glad Cancer
Paola was just two years old when her parents rushed her to the emergency room at Lurie Children’s for severe abdominal pain. That pain turned out to be the result of a ruptured tumor of her adrenal gland.