The goal of Genetic Counselling is to determine an early diagnosis in people who are carriers of a genetic mutation that currently is known to be involved in the development of hereditary tumours or people at risk of having a genetic disease.
In many cases, these people have a family history suggestive of hereditary transmission in whom, probably, there are no clinical signs of cancer, but they have a high probability of developing it at any given moment during their life.
It is estimated that only between 5 % and 10 % of all cancers are hereditary
In accordance with international guidelines for clinical practice, genetic tests are recommended when:
Breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer are tumours that are most commonly identified with hereditary syndromes
Part of the IVO since 2007
The IVO Foundation’s Hereditary Cancer Genetic Counselling Unit (UCGC) began its activity in the year 2007, as one of the five reference UCGCs within the Hereditary Cancer Programme of the Valencian Community, which is funded by the Dirección General de Salud Pública belonging to the Conselleria de Sanitat Public Health Department.
Breakthroughs in genetics
Breakthroughs in genetics and the discovery of the genes responsible for the predisposition to certain oncological diseases allow individuals and families at risk of developing breast-ovarian cancer, polyposis and non-polyposis colon cancer, or other illnesses such as multiple endocrine neoplasia, retinoblastoma or Von-Hipple-Lindau disease to be identified.
The risk of having a genetic mutation is assessed
At the UCGCs, while respecting the principles of autonomy and privacy, the risk of having a genetic mutation associated with a known hereditary cancer syndrome is assessed, the necessary psychological support is given and, if applicable, a genetic study is offered.
Depending on the results of this study, advice is given, and the person will be advised, on a case by case basis, of the preventive measures and key factors to watch for in themselves and their family members.
Oncology Plan of the Valencian Community
The UCGS then goes on to write a report for the patient, for the clinical services that referred them, and for the services in charge of following up their case and/or preventive actions that have been recommended.
All of the cases attended at the UCGCs are registered in a common information management system, which is maintained by the Oncology Plan of the Valencian Community offices, which allows compliance to the recommendations to be rated and the programme to be evaluated.
Genetic Counselling Medical Team
The IVO Foundation’s UCGC is integrated in the Medical Oncology Service and is made up by a broad multidisciplinary team of professionals from various disciplines: medical oncology, molecular biology, pathology, psychology, surgery, gynaecology, and nursing.