Genetics

Are you concerned about your risk for developing cancer?

Kapi'olani's Cancer Risk Assessment Program was established to counsel and educate individuals who have concerns about the chance that they or their children will develop cancer.

To speak with a genetic counselor for more information or to schedule an appointment, call (808) 983-6090 or toll-free (866) 495-7645.

What is hereditary cancer?

Most individuals have at least one family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. This is not unusual since about one in three individuals will develop cancer in their lifetime.

Hereditary cancers account for about 5-10% of all cancers. A hereditary cancer is one that "runs in families" and may be passed on from parents to children. Hereditary cancers are caused by a change in a gene. A gene is like a recipe within a cookbook, but this recipe tells our body how to develop and function. A change in a gene, just like a change in a recipe, may result in a change of function, or an unsavory meal.

Cancer is more likely to be hereditary if:

  • You have a personal history of cancer.
  • Two or more blood relatives have the same type of cancer.
  • Cancer was diagnosed when the blood relative was 50 years of age or younger.
  • A blood relative has a rare cancer, like male breast cancer
  • Cancer develops in both breasts, both ovaries, both kidneys, both eyes, etc.
  • A single blood relative has had cancer more than once.

What can person do about being at risk for hereditary cancer?

The goal of identifying individuals at risk for hereditary cancer is early cancer detection and prevention. Kapi'olani's Cancer Risk Assessment Program assesses an individual's risk through genetic counseling. During a genetic counseling session you can expect to:

  • Review a detailed history of your personal medical and family history.
  • Discuss your specific risk to develop cancer.
  • Discuss options for reducing your risk to develop cancer.
  • Discuss a cancer screening plan tailored to your specific needs.
  • Consider the benefits and limitations of genetic testing, a special blood test for those at risk for hereditary cancer.

Will my insurance pay for a genetics appointment?

HMSA has forged the way as a leader in coverage for cancer genetic counseling in Hawai‘i. If your insurance does not cover genetic counseling for cancer, there is an affordable fee for a genetic assessment.

Click here for a quick self-assessment.