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Genetics / Familial Ovarian Cancer
Some women have genetic changes (mutations) in their DNA that make them more likely to develop ovarian cancer. Since these genetic changes may be passed from generation to generation, these women often have family members with ovarian or breast cancer. A woman's risk for ovarian cancer is three times higher if she has a close relative who had ovarian cancer. This risk is further increased with additional family members who have had cancer, especially ovarian or breast cancer. More detail about hereditary ovarian cancer syndromes ...

If you fit this pattern, genetic counseling and even testing may be appropriate. This is an emerging field in medicine and very complex. Patients with a suspicious family history require personal attention by a genetic counselor and careful screening.

Genetic testing and counseling

    Johns Hopkins Breast And Ovarian Surveillance Service -- because of the link between breast cancer and ovarian cancer, Johns Hopkins has created a Breast and Ovarian Surveillance Service (BOSS). This clinic offers risk assessment for breast and ovarian cancer to both affected and at-risk individuals. The service is provided by a team of clinicians including physicians, genetic counselors, and nurse practitioners.

    Johns Hopkins Colon Cancer Risk Assessment Clinic - because some cases of ovarian cancer are associated with Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer (also known as Lynch syndrome II), affected or at-risk women may benefit from a consultation with this service. Similar to the BOSS clinic, this clinic is staffed by physicians and genetic counselors. For more information, visit the Johns Hopkins Hereditary Colon Cancer Program (http://www.hopkins-coloncancer.org)

    To schedule an appointment with the BOSS or Colon Cancer Risk Assessment Clinic, call (410) 502-7082. During the visit, the patient's medical and family history is reviewed and evaluated for a potential hereditary cancer syndrome. If one is suspected, the benefits, risks, and limitations of genetic testing will be discussed. Screening, prevention and management recommendations are also outlined.

    We also encourage women with two or more close relatives with ovarian cancer to register with the Gilda Radner Patient Registry.
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