Genetics and Hereditary Cancers

High-Risk Management

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-2563

For patients who are at a high risk for developing cancer, it’s important to keep in touch with a UT Southwestern Medical Center genetics expert because the field of genetics is growing at a rapid pace. The discovery of new genes, development of new technology, or changes to a patient’s personal and/or family history might impact genetic testing and management options in the future.

Contact your genetic counselor:

To see if updated genetic testing becomes available, even if nothing has changed

  • When: Every one to two years
  • Why: Testing for a newer gene could help understand reasons for cancer in a family

If your family history has changed

  • When: Immediately
  • Why: This could change cancer screening or genetic testing options

To see if cancer screening recommendations have changed

  • When: Every one to two years
  • Why: New options could help prevent or detect cancers earlier

To update your contact information

  • When: Immediately
  • Why: We send follow-up information or important changes over time

Family History of Cancer

Patients should discuss family history of any cancer with their primary care physicians to determine if cancer screening recommendations should be changed. National guidelines typically recommend starting cancer screening five to 10 years before the age at which the earliest cancer in a close relative (such as a sibling or parents) developed. 

Learn more about family history of specific cancers: