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Family History of Cancer and Genetic Testing
As described in the information brochure, some people may have a very faulty copy of one or more genes that is causing their cancer. This is more likely to occur in a relatively small group of people who develop cancer at an unusually early age, and/or have many close family members affected with cancer. Further information on cancer that occurs in families is described in the attached brochure entitled “ What if I have a family history of cancer? ” from the Centre for Genetics Education, Australia.
Currently in Australia , genetic testing does not affect your ability to obtain private health insurance (although there may be a waiting period for pre-existing conditions). It is, however, possible that in the future the fact that you have taken part in a study involving genetics may affect you or your family if you want to take out a new health, disability or life insurance policy. We will not pass on this information about you to anyone, including your family members, without your written permission unless lawfully obliged to. Current Australian insurance policies are described in the attached brochure on genetic testing and health insurance, entitled “ Genetic Information and Life Insurance Products in Australia ” from the Centre for Genetics Education, Australia.
If you would like additional advice about risks of cancer in families, you may wish to contact your local Family Cancer Clinic for an assessment. Family Cancer Clinics provide counselling and information for families with a history of cancer on:
They also provide genetic testing where appropriate. The clinics are conducted through the public hospital system and there is no direct cost to the patient for consultation or genetic testing.
The types of families often referred to a clinic are families with three or more individuals with a specific type of cancer or individuals with multiple cancers or cancers diagnosed at an unusually young age. When you attend a clinic you may see a Genetic Counsellor, Medical Geneticists and other medical specialists depending on the type of cancer.