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Cancer Predisposition Program
Around 1 in 3 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s not uncommon for multiple members of a family to have cancer. But only about 5–10 percent of those cancers are inherited through abnormal genes – the pieces of DNA that control how a body’s cells function and are passed from one generation to the next. A cancer predisposition syndrome is a condition that occurs because of genetic changes in all the body’s cells that increases a person’s risk for developing cancer, either during childhood or adulthood.
About the Cancer Predisposition program at Children’s Wisconsin
Our Cancer Predisposition program offers comprehensive care for children and adolescents who have:
- A known cancer predisposition syndrome
- A new cancer diagnosis that may be due to an underlying genetic syndrome
- A known family history of a cancer predisposition syndrome
- A strong family history of cancers that may be associated with familial syndromes
If you’re concerned that your child could fall into any of the above categories, consult your pediatrician. They may refer your child to the Cancer Predisposition program.
The program is run by an oncologist (a doctor who takes care of patients with cancer) and a genetic counselor (a counselor who helps with ordering genetic testing and interpreting results). They will discuss with you the pros and cons of testing and what testing options are available. Once test results are available, they will help you understand your child’s long-term risk for developing cancer and develop a plan for ongoing surveillance and care.
Common cancer predisposition syndromes
The following is a list of just some of the syndromes that we see and treat most frequently. Please note, however, that our team is equipped to screen for and manage any cancer predisposition syndrome and is not limited to this list. We welcome referrals for all concerns in the Cancer Predisposition spectrum:
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
- PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes (MEN)
- Familial adenomatous polyposis syndrome (FAP)
- Von-Hippel Lindau syndrome (VHL)
- Hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC)
- Hereditary neuroblastoma syndromes
- Hereditary paraganglioma/pheochromocytoma syndromes
- WT1 related syndromes
Why choose Children’s Wisconsin?
If your child has been diagnosed with a cancer predisposition syndrome or you are concerned about a strong family history of cancer, it may feel overwhelming to navigate the care options that will lead to the best outcomes.
Our Cancer Predisposition program is a one-stop shop where your family has access to resources at the MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and multidisciplinary expertise — all in one visit. The clinic’s oncologist and genetic counselor work closely with specialists from throughout the Children’s Wisconsin health care system who might play a critical role in your child’s care, including gastroenterologists, surgeons and endocrinologists.
Once your child reaches adulthood, our team assists in making a seamless transition to providers within the Medical College of Wisconsin network to ensure that their monitoring continues as they become young adults and throughout their lives.
Our Cancer Predisposition program team includes:
- Kerri Becktell, MD (Oncologist)
- Amy Ott, GC (Genetics counselor)
- Sarah Linn, CGC (Genetics counselor)
- Kelly Felske, RN
To make an Oncology Ambulatory Referral in EPIC, please enter “predisposition patient” in the comment section of the referral order.
Need more information or an appointment? We’re happy to help.
For appointments, contact the individual programs within our MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.