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What to expect at the Cancer Predisposition Program

If your child is being treated at St. Jude, you might have many questions. You might ask:

What caused my child's cancer?

Will my child develop another cancer?

What about my other children?

You probably have many questions about your child’s diagnosis or cancer risk. We can help you find answers to these questions. The first step is meeting with our doctors and genetic counselors.

How to prepare for your clinic visit

Gather your family medical history. It is important to know the medical history of parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, especially anyone who had cancer. If a family member had cancer, follow the steps below as much as possible.

  • Ask for copies of family members’ cancer medical records to share with your child’s doctor, nurse and genetic counselor.
  • If you cannot get copies of their medical records, try to find out what type of cancer they had and how old they were when it was found.
  • If a family member had cancer in more than one body part, try to find out if doctors thought it was one type of cancer that spread, or different types of cancer that happened separately.
  • If the cancer happened in the eyes, breasts, kidneys or adrenal glands, try to find out if only one or both of these organs was affected.
  • If any family members had cancer genetic testing, ask for copies of their test reports.

Write down your questions. We want to be sure we answer all your questions and give you the information you need.

  • Talk with your family members and make a list of questions and concerns that you want to discuss.

What to expect at your clinic visit

A genetic counselor, nurse and/or doctor will talk with you and your child about:

  • Your child’s medical and family history
  • Genetic testing
  • What cancer screening tests are available
  • How your child’s diagnosis affects you, your child and other family members

A doctor or nurse practitioner may perform a physical exam.

What happens after your clinic visit

  • Your genetic counselor, nurse and a team of doctors who specialize in cancer and genetics will review your child’s medical, treatment, and family histories.
  • We will discuss genetic testing for other family members, if needed.
  • We might refer you to a specialist in your community for care.
  • We will create a care plan for your child and other family members, if needed.