Cancer Genetics

The Center for Cancer Risk Assessment provides comprehensive genetic counseling and testing services for those who may be at increased risk of hereditary cancer.
Request an Appointment Request a Remote Second Opinion

Talk to an access nurse today 877-726-5130

Overview

Our team helps to identify families that may have a hereditary cancer syndrome and, when indicated, provides genetic testing, screening and support. Our certified and licensed genetic counselors are experienced in helping patients gather the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions. We offer hereditary cancer risk assessment, education and genetic testing across a variety of specialty clinics.

 

Convenient, Multidisciplinary Care

CCRA patients have access to all of the resources of Massachusetts General Hospital, which means a multidisciplinary team of specialists is available to manage every aspect of your care. If you learn you have a genetic predisposition to cancer, your options for care may include:

    • Ongoing surveillance and monitoring
    • Immediate action and treatment at the appropriate time
    • Prophylactic surgery, care and follow-up
    • Genetic counseling and testing for family members
    • Access to the Mass General Fertility Center's Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis Program

 

Developing Better Therapies through Research

Like all treatment centers within the Cancer Center, our program is highly involved in research. We lead and participate in studies to develop a better understanding of the genetic causes of several cancer syndromes as well as studies to advance cancer treatment and screenings.

 

 

 

Answers to Genetic Testing and Genetic Counseling FAQs, by our expert team of Certified Genetic Counselors. Learn More

Meet the Team

Co-Directors

Meet the Genetic Counselors Team

Patient Education

Genetic Testing Frequently Asked Questions:

Answers to Genetic Testing and Genetic Counseling FAQs, by our expert team of Certified Genetic Counselors.

Learn more about the Center for Cancer Risk Assessment clinics:

Breast and Ovarian Cancer Genetics and Risk Assessment Clinic
helps to identify families that may have a hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer syndrome and, when indicated, offer genetic testing, cancer screening and support.

Endocrine Tumor Genetics Clinic
helps to identify families that may have a hereditary risk for endocrine tumors and, when indicated, offer genetic testing, screening and support.

Familial Renal Cell Carcinoma and von Hippel-Lindau Disease Clinic
helps to identify families that may have a hereditary renal (kidney) cancer syndrome and, when indicated, offer genetic testing, screening and support.

Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics Clinic
helps identify families that may have a hereditary colon or gastrointestinal cancer syndrome and, when indicated, offer genetic testing, cancer screening and support.

Melanoma Genetics Clinic
helps to identify families that may have a hereditary melanoma syndrome and, when indicated, offer genetic testing, cancer screening and support.

Neuro-Oncology Genetics Clinic
offers genetic counseling and testing for patients with neurofibromatosis (NF1, NF2, schwannomatosis) as well as those with strong personal and family histories of cancers of the central nervous system.

Resources

Resources at Mass General Cancer Center

  • Wellness and Support Programs
    Our support programs are designed to help patients, their families and caregivers cope with the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. We offer a wide range of integrative therapies, workshops and support groups. On this page you will find complete listings of our upcoming program offerings.
  • The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Program
    The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides cancer patients and their families with information and resources for living with cancer.
  • The Marjorie E. Korff Parenting At a Challenging Time (PACT) ProgramThe Marjorie E. Korff PACT program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides psycho-educational support for parents who are patients.

Outside Support Groups

  • FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered)
    FORCE is the only national nonprofit organization devoted to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Their mission includes support, education, advocacy, awareness, and research specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. 
  • Be Bright Pink
    Bright Pink is a national non-profit organization that provides education and support to young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. They arm young women with knowledge, options and a great attitude, and offer companionship and empathy during their journey. 
  • VHLA (von Hippel-Lindau Alliance)
    The VHL Alliance provides information for families and physicians about this disorder and local self-help support groups for families affected with VHL. Local family support chapters exist in regions of the U.S. Local chapter meetings are scheduled periodically. International VHL Support Organizations are established on six continents.
  • No Stomach For Cancer
    No Stomach For Cancer is a non-profit organization, established to provide Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer families with education and support, while helping to advance research into HDGC diagnosis, screening, treatment, and prevention.
  • Lynch Syndrome International
    Lynch Syndrome International (LSI) provides information and assistance to individuals with Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer, also known as HNPCC or Lynch syndrome. LSI works to promote education regarding cancer surveillance and screening, while also providing patients with local resources.
  • Hereditary Colon Cancer Takes Guts
    The Hereditary Colon Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization serving the hereditary colorectal cancer community. They provide resources for patients and healthcare providers on a comprehensive website.

General Information

News & Updates

August 2017

Please Join Our Fundraising Efforts!

The CCRAcers are fundraising for the Everyday Amazing Race to support the MGH Cancer Center! On September 10th, genetic counselors from the Center for Cancer Risk Assessment (CCRA) and their families will be participating in the 5K run, the 2K walk, and even the Kids’ Dash! You can donate to our team here and help us meet our goal.

If you’d like to join the CCRAcers, or make your own team, register for the Everyday Amazing Race now!


April 2017

Updates to Genetic Testing

If you have a strong personal and/or family history of cancer and genetic testing in the past did not find an answer, expanded testing could be considered. Many more cancer predisposition genes are available for testing through multi-gene panel testing. Multi-gene cancer panels utilize a laboratory technique that allows multiple genes to be tested simultaneously. We encourage you to re-contact our team at any time to discuss the pros and cons of expanded testing for you or your family. Below are some of the examples of genes available through expanded testing:

  • Breast and Pancreatic Cancer: PALB2
    Research has shown that women with a genetic mutation in the PALB2 gene have an elevated risk for breast cancer, with some studies estimating this risk to be up to 33-58%. Men and women PALB2 carriers may also have an increased risk for pancreatic cancer, although data regarding this risk are limited at this time. Testing for this gene is clinically available and is included on many multigene panels.
  • Familial Colorectal Cancers: POLE, POLD1, GREM1
    Clinical testing for a new colorectal cancer predisposition syndrome called polymerase proofreading-associated polyposis (PPAP) is now available. Two genes, POLE and POLD1, have been associated with an increased risk for colon polyps and colorectal cancers. Mutations in POLD1 may also increase the risk for endometrial cancer.

    Recent studies have found an association between the gene GREM1 and Hereditary Mixed Polyposis Syndrome (HMPS). HMPS is a condition that increases the risk to develop multiple types of colon polyps as well as colorectal cancer. To date, there has been one specific genetic alteration in GREM1 reported, found primarily in families of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with HMPS.
  • Multi Cancer Genes: BAP1
    Historically associated with cutaneous and uveal (skin and eye) melanomas and mesotheliomas, BAP1 is evolving into a syndrome associated with a number of cancer types including kidney and bile duct.

February 2017

Looking Back, Facing Forward (LBFF) – Conference for BRCA carriers

The 8th Biennial Conference for BRCA mutation carriers will take place on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Mass General Hospital. This event brings together BRCA carriers and their family members from Mass General, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to connect with one another while learning about updates in the management of BRCA-related cancer risk, exploring local support resources, and sharing experiences. It is an opportunity to learn from renowned physicians in the field, as well as from other BRCA carriers at various points in their journeys. This popular event will be a fantastic educational and community-building opportunity! If you are a BRCA carrier, you will be receiving information in the mail with event and registration details. We look forward to seeing you there!

Telemedicine: Expanding our Reach

For the last 10 years, Mass General's Center for Cancer Risk Assessment (CCRA) has been providing on-site genetic counseling to various community hospitals in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Recently, we teamed with the MGH TeleHealth program in order to provide patients at Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) in Lewiston, ME, with virtual genetic counseling.

“Telegenetics” is the provision of genetic counseling services at a distance, over a computer network. Just like an in person genetic counseling visit, a patient schedules an appointment with CMMC and attends the appointment at their facility. Through a secure video connection, the patient meets with a genetic counselor that is stationed in Boston at MGH. Genetic counseling is provided and, if appropriate, genetic testing coordinated through a blood draw at the CMMC facility. This program has been incredibly well received by both patients and providers and offers the expertise of MGH genetic counselors more readily to our patients at CMMC.

Contact

Center for Cancer Risk Assessment
55 Fruit Street, YAW 10B
Boston, Massachusetts  02114
Tel: 617-724-1971
Fax: 617-726-9418

Patient Services Coordinator: Sanae Maouhoub

Request an Appointment Request a Remote Second Opinion

Talk to an access nurse today 877-726-5130

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