Family cancer centres

The Victorian Family Cancer Genetics Service is for those worried about their risk of cancer because of their family history of cancer. Services include testing, medical advice, counselling, support and the chance to take part in research.

Four family cancer centres provide services from sites in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. A visit is free and confidential. Interpreters are available

  1. Austin Health Clinical Genetics Service
    Austin Hospital, Studley Rd, Heidelberg 3084
    Tel: (03) 9496 3027 Fax: (03) 9496 4385
    Email: genetics@austin.org.au
    (Also coordinates clinics at Northern Hospital, Wodonga, Ballarat and Shepparton regions)

  2. The Peter Mac Familial Cancer Centre
    Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St Andrew’s Place, East Melbourne 3000
    Tel: (03) 9656 1199 Fax: (03) 9656 1539
    Email: FamilialCancer@petermac.org
    (Also coordinates clinics at Box Hill Hospital, Bendigo and Mildura regions)

  3. The RMH Familial Cancer Centre
    The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Grattan St, Parkville 3050
    Tel: (03) 9342 7151 Fax: (03) 9342 4267
    Email: familycancer@mh.org.au
    (Also coordinates clinics at Western Hospital, Geelong and Warrnambool regions)

  4. Monash Health Familial Cancer Centre
    Monash Medical Centre, Clayton Road, Clayton 3168
    Tel: (03) 9594 2009 Fax: (03) 9594 6046
    Email: familial.cancer@monashhealth.org.au
    (Also coordinates clinics at Alfred Hospital, Moe and Frankston regions)

Appointments

If you're concerned about your family's cancer history, discuss it with your doctor who can refer you to a family cancer centre. Some centres don't require referrals and will accept direct appointments.

If you're referred, a staff member from the centre may contact you to discuss your family history before your appointment. The person you speak to may discuss sending you a family history questionnaire and consent forms to complete.

What happens next? 

You may see a genetic counsellor, medical geneticist (a doctor trained in genetics), and other medical specialists such as an oncologist, surgeon or gastroenterologist.

Your family history will be reviewed and you'll be given an estimate of your inherited risk of cancer. Follow-up and options for early detection and prevention will be discussed. The first appointment will take about an hour. You may need to visit the centre more than once.

After you attend a centre you and your doctor will each receive a detailed letter about your visit. This will include recommendations for follow-up care.

Genetic testing

Depending on your family history, it may be possible to have a genetic test to determine if you've inherited a high risk of cancer. This will be discussed at your appointment. Genetic testing is arranged by the family cancer centre and is offered only with counselling, so you can talk about limitations and potential benefits.

Updated: 16 Apr, 2014