Prevention and Early Detection

High Risk Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Clinic

While there are no simple screening tests or procedures currently for the presence of ovarian cancer there are a number of indications that women are at high risk including having a family history of ovarian cancer, having had breast or colorectal cancer, infertility, no history of pregnancy, endometriosis, prior hysterectomy, increased age and Jewish ancestry. There are also no early signs with symptoms manifesting when the cancer is already growing so it is critical to raise awareness of risks particularly the genetic factors. Inherited BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, which can be identified by genetic testing, accounts for between 5 and 10 percent of breast and ovarian cancer with about 50% of women with these gene mutations developing ovarian cancer.

The High Risk Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Clinic offers services to women who are or may be at high risk of ovarian cancer. Services include physical examination by a gynecologic oncologist, a review of medical and family history, a transvaginal ultrasound, assessment of risk and counseling with a genetic counselor, genetic testing and discussion of plans for follow up including monitoring, periodic examination and treatment with the specialist team if cancer is diagnosed.

Monthly high risk clinics are held at the Sylvester Miami Medical campus and Deerfield Beach locations.

Genetic Counseling

The Division of Gynecologic Oncology at UHealth – University of Miami Health System offers genetic counseling services through the Center for Cancer Prevention and Genetics at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. The center is dedicated to identifying and managing individuals and families with increased cancer risks. Approximately 5-10% of all cancer is due to an inherited susceptibility (a genetic tendency). Up to 20% of all cases of cancer may have some familial component.

The goal of our center is to provide families with information and guidance about early detection, cancer risk reduction and prevention for those at increased risk. The center is the only one of its kind in Miami-Dade and Broward providing multidisciplinary evaluation for all types of familial cancer syndromes.

Center services include:

  • Detailed family and medical history review
  • Education about the general nature of cancer including inherited cancer syndromes
  • Risk assessment
  • Discussion of genes involved in cancer syndromes
  • Explanation and interpretation of genetic testing
  • Referrals to resources for follow-up care
  • Referral or recommendation for research studies
  • Written summary to referring physicians with guidelines
  • Written summary and genetic testing results to patients

Why would someone want to know his or her risk of developing cancer?
In some cases, this information may help an individual and his or her physician take steps to detect cancer early and, when possible, prevent it. In others, it may help relieve uncertainties about cancer risk.

What is genetic counseling?
Genetic counseling is a communication process between a health professional and an individual concerning the risk and impact of genetic conditions in a family. Cancer genetic counseling involves collaboration of both oncology and genetic specialists, to help individuals and families understand the risk for certain types of cancer based on family history and genetic predispositions and to explore methods of early detection and prevention for those at risk.

What is genetic testing?
Genetic testing involves analysis of a blood sample, or in some cases a tumor specimen to identify changes within the DNA. The benefits and limitations of this testing are discussed in detail during genetic counseling.

Who may benefit from genetic counseling?
Individuals concerned about their risk for cancer, and/or their family history of cancer.

How can learning my hereditary risk help me?
While treatment for cancer is advancing, thousands still die of this disease. The key to fighting cancer is to detect it at an early stage. In addition, there may be options for reducing the risk of certain cancers. Awareness of one’s risk may increase a person’s willingness to be proactive in their screening and surveillance. Genetic counseling can help identify those families in need of increased cancer surveillance.

What could indicate that someone might be at hereditary risk for cancer?
Cancer is a common disease. Many families have one or more relatives with some form of cancer. However, there are other factors to consider when evaluating cancer in a family.

These clues include:

  • Cancer at an early age (below 50)
  • More than one generation with cancer
  • Same cancer in at least two closely related relatives
  • Breast cancer in both breasts or in a man
  • More than one cancer in the same person
  • Rare cancers in the same side of the family
  • Breast and ovarian cancer in the same side of the family
  • Colon and uterine cancer in the same side of the family

For more information on the University of Miami Health System cancer genetics clinic please visit their website at Cancer Genetics Clinic.

To schedule an appointment, call 305-243-2233.