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

Talk to an access nurse today 877-789-6100


Some individuals have an increased risk of developing cancer based on their personal and/or family history. Several members, across generations, may be affected. The Center for Cancer Risk Assessment provides evaluation, counseling, testing and referral for appropriate ongoing monitoring, treatment and follow-up for hereditary cancers, including:

  • Breast
  • Gynecological cancers: ovarian, uterine and fallopian tube
  • Gastrointestinal: colon, rectal, pancreatic and gastric
  • Genitourinary: kidney
  • Endocrine: thyroid, pituitary and adrenal
  • Skin: melanoma

Our center also provides counseling and genetic testing for the following syndromes:

  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (including the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations)
  • Cowden syndrome
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer syndrome (Lynch syndrome)
  • Colon polyp syndromes: familial adenomatous polyposis, MYH-associated polyposis, juvenile polyposis
  • Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
  • Von-Hipple-Lindau syndrome
  • Birg-Hogg-Dube syndrome
  • Hereditary paraganlioma syndrome
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 1 and type 2 syndrome
  • Hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer syndrome
  • Hereditary papillary renal cell cancer syndrome
  • Familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome

Innovative Approaches Advance Clinical Care

In addition to the comprehensive services provided by the Center for Cancer Risk Assessment, patients in our program have access to all the resources of Massachusetts General Hospital. This allows every patient’s complete care to be coordinated by a multidisciplinary team of specialists all in one place.

Patients who learn they have a genetic predisposition to cancer have options that can also be fully managed within Mass General, including:

  • Ongoing surveillance and monitoring of status or precancerous conditions
  • Immediate action and treatment at the appropriate time
  • Genetics counseling and testing for family members
  • Prophylactic surgery, care and follow-up
  • Access to Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center's Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis Program, which helps couples with an increased risk for a specific genetic abnormality to have a child unaffected by that particular disease
  • Cancer treatment and follow-up

Multidisciplinary Patient Care

All patients of the Cancer Center are cared for by a multidisciplinary team of specialists and those who come to the Center for Cancer Risk Assessment are no exception. Our program includes:

  • Certified Genetic Counselors experienced in helping patients gather the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions
  • Access to psychiatrists and social workers to help cope with the emotional component of genetic testing
  • Collaborations with the Cancer Center’s expert medical staff
  • Collaborations with Mass General specialist outside the Cancer Center

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 better understanding of the genetic causes of several cancer syndromes, as well as studies to advance cancer treatment and screenings.

Patient Education

  • The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

    The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

  • Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

    The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

  • Illuminations Program

    Illuminations is a rotating art exhibit displayed in the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The program aims to enlighten and encourage patients and their loved ones by enhancing our environment of care.

  • The PACT Program

    The Marjorie E. Korff PACT program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides psycho-educational support for parents who are patients.

  • Oncology Chaplaincy

    Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

  • Home Disconnect

    A home infusion pump may be part of your treatment plan. In some cases, you may have the option for disconnecting the chemotherapy from home. If this option applies to you, and you would prefer to disconnect from home, this instructional video will reinforce the teaching provided to you by your nurse in the Mass General cancer Center


  • Creating hope and inspiring action - 6/5/2015, Mass General

    On May 26, the MGH Cancer Center celebrated the eighth annual the one hundred, an event honoring 100 individuals and groups whose commitment to the fight against cancer creates hope and inspires action.

  • Cancer Center celebrates the one hundred - 6/10/2011, Mass General

    MGH Hotline 6.10.11 One individual can make an incredible difference for a patient with cancer.

  • von Hippel-Lindau Disease - 2/1/2011, Mass General

    December and January episodes of the television show “Grey’s Anatomy” featured a storyline about von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease, a rare but serious genetically-inherited condition that can cause abnormal blood vessel growth and tumor development. Gayun Chan-Smutko, MS, CGC, a genetic counselor in the Cancer Center’s von Hippel-Lindau Clinic discusses testing, screening and treatment options for VHL.

  • Staff Snapshot - 2/1/2011, Mass General

    Senior Genetic Counselor, Gayun Chan-Smutko, MS, CGC


Contact Us

Cancer Center

  • Phone: 617-726-5130
Request an Appointment

Talk to an access nurse today 877-789-6100

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