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.
Melbourne has 4 family cancer centres. A visit is free and confidential. Interpreters are available.
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 referals and will accept direct appointments.
If you're referred, a staff member from the centre will 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.
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.
Depending on your family history, it may be possible to have a genetic test to determine if you have 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.