The Maine Medical Center Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic is for people who are concerned about their own, or a family members’, risk of cancer. Although most cancers are not "inherited,” some families have a higher risk of cancer and could benefit from early detection or steps to lower their risk. Our team helps patients and their families understand how their genes may affect their risk for cancer and how they can manage this risk.
Understand your options and choose the best path forward
The clinic provides counseling for all types of cancer. Visits take 1 ½ - 2 hours, including an overview of cancer genetics, a review of medical and family history, and counseling on ways you and your family can lower the risk of cancer.
We will ask you to complete a personal and family history form and to gather medical records before coming to the clinic. We will mail these forms to you after your visit is scheduled.
Personal & Family History Form
This form asks questions about the cancers in your family and how old a person was when he or she had it. It is important that you try to complete this form before your clinic visit so that we can give you an accurate risk assessment.
If you have had a cancer or pre-cancerous finding, please send these medical records (such as pathology reports or colonoscopy records) to our clinic before your visit. We also ask you to contact relatives who have had cancer, and if possible, to get their medical records. We know that it may not be possible to gather these records before your visit. We will provide genetic counseling based on the information that you give us. If more records are needed, we can help you to get them after your visit.
Initial visits take up to two hours. You will meet with a genetic counselor to talk about your health, family history and hereditary cancer risk. Some patients may also meet with a doctor at their first visit.
Topics usually discussed include:
- Your family and medical history focusing on cancer
- The risk of cancer for you and your family due to genes, where you live and work, and lifestyle (such as what you eat, drink or smoke, how much physical activity you get) on cancer risk
- The hereditary cancer syndromes and patterns of inheritance that may exist in your family
- Ways to screen for cancer and how you can reduce your risk
- Risk to other family members
- Genetic testing, if indicated
All services provided will be billed to insurance. For those at risk, most insurance carriers reimburse the cost of genetic counseling and testing. The federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) provides protection against health insurance genetic discrimination. Learn more about the Genetic Insurance Non-discrimination Act (GINA).