Cancer Genetics

About 5 to 10 percent of all cancers may be linked to genetic mutations, and approximately 30 percent of cancer cases occur in families with close relatives who have experienced similar cancers.

Advancements in medical research over the past 20 years have improved our ability to identify the genetic factors that may lead to higher risk of cancers.

The experts at UT Southwestern’s Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center are at the forefront of cancer genetics research. Our Cancer Genetics Program is the only research-based clinical program in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to offer testing and counseling for all identified types of cancer, and we see more than 2,000 patients each year. 

Risk Factors Associated With Genetics

Genetic testing for cancer can be beneficial for people who have a personal or family history that indicates a genetic condition. An inherited risk for cancer is higher when:

  • Cancer is diagnosed at an unusually young age.
  • The same type of cancer occurs in multiple close relatives.
  • You or a family member are of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (Eastern or Central European descent) and have either breast or ovarian cancer.
  • You or a family member has a rare cancer or tumor, such as a sarcoma, male breast cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, or a pheochromocytoma.
  • You have a family history of a combination of breast and ovarian cancers, or colon and uterine cancers.
  • You have more than 20 colon polyps.
  • You or a family member has had multiple kinds of cancer. 

Genetic Cancer Diagnosis and Counseling

At Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, families have an ally in the science of cancer risk assessment and counseling. Our specialists can help you identify your risk of developing cancer, counsel you on environmental or behavioral factors that may help reduce that risk, and help you understand the treatment options available to help you manage your health.

Our team of board-certified genetic counselors works with scientists and oncologists across the institution to research cancer prevention and therapies and to give patients access to promising treatments through clinical trials.

Your counselor will work with you to determine your risk for genetic cancer and provide information and guidance on potential therapies. If you are diagnosed with a genetic cancer, your counselor may also suggest testing for other family members. 

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a cancer genetics specialist at UTSW, request an appointment online or call 214-645-8300.