Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

What to Expect During Your Hereditary Cancer Clinic Visit

Phone Appointment

The first appointment with the Vanderbilt Hereditary Cancer Clinic is by phone. We will record your family history information and create a pedigree (family tree diagram). We will send you a family history form and information about the clinic before the phone appointment. At the end of the phone appointment, we’ll schedule a face-to-face appointment with one of our genetics providers.

To help create a more accurate cancer risk evaluation, we will ask patients to collect family history information before their phone appointment. Important information includes:

  • Who in the family has been diagnosed with cancer?
  • Where their cancer(s) started, what type, and if the cancer was present on both sides (for example, in both breasts) or in more than one place
  • How old they were when diagnosed with cancer
  • If anyone in the family has undergone genetic testing, the results of that test

If you would like to fill out our questionnaire in advance, download the instructions and form below:

Family History Questionnaire PDF

Documentation of cancer is an important part of the cancer risk assessment. In some cases, it’s helpful if you can find pathology records for family members who have had cancer or suspected cancer. Other medical records, death certificates, pathology specimens, etc. can also be helpful. Your provider can provide guidance about what records might be helpful depending on the family history.

Face-to-Face Appointment

After your phone appointment is done, you’ll be scheduled for a face-to-face appointment at one of our clinic locations.

The face-to-face appointment can include:

  • Review of family tree created during the phone appointment and creation of a cancer risk assessment based the family tree
  • Education on cancer, cancer genetics, risk and related topics
  • Discussion of whether a gene linked to risk for cancer may be passed down in the family
  • When appropriate, discussion of testing options and insurance coverage for genetic testing
  • A plan for learning testing results is made; usually patients will return to learn their results in person
  • If appropriate, referrals for participation in research relating to a patient’s specific condition
  • Discussion of options for cancer screening and risk reduction. When appropriate, appointments can be arranged with medical specialists.
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