Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment Program

UCLA Genitourinary Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment Program

The UCLA Genitourinary Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment Program focuses on investigation into the potential genetic causes of an individual’s urologic cancer (kidney, prostate, bladder and testicular cancers). Up to 5-10% of cancers are related to a genetic predisposition with dozens of recognized genetic syndromes.  If you have been diagnosed with a urologic cancer, you may be a candidate for genetic risk assessment to evaluate for a genetic cause of your cancer. For those at greatest risk, often this knowledge can more precisely tailor a treatment plan that is optimal for you. 

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing is a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. This personalized genetic risk assessment is performed in consultation with a genetic counselor who has specialized education in both medical genetics and counseling.

What are the benefits of genetic testing?

Genetic testing for cancer can find many of the inherited mutations tied to the disease, therefore allowing you and your UCLA doctor to understand why cancer developed, make the most informed management decisions for your care, determine if you require additional evaluation from other providers, and discuss whether your family members may be at risk.

Who should consider genetic testing?

Your provider closely evaluates you for specific referral criteria and when to initiate genetic risk assessment based on disease characteristics and family history of cancer. Specific aspects that could trigger further evaluation may include having cancer at a very early age, having tumors in paired organs (bilateral for tumors in the kidney/testes), having unusual tumor characteristics (under the microscope), and other personal or family history of other cancers (like breast, ovarian, or colorectal cancer). Suspicion for a genetic predisposition does vary by cancer type, so speak with your provider about whether genetic risk assessment is right for you.

How does genetic testing work at UCLA?

At UCLA, we have an integrated urologic oncology clinic with a state-of-the-art genetic counseling service where we can perform a thorough family history to evaluate potential genetic predispositions and determine if further testing is right for you. If there is suspicion, the program offers multi-gene testing which may include a large panel of genes associated with your form of cancer. To ensure proper interpretation and follow-up, genetic counselors will help interpret results and provide support through the process. There will be detailed recommendations to discuss with your UCLA provider and possibly suggested referrals to other physicians within the UCLA system. 

How can I schedule an appointment?

For an appointment with a urologic oncology specialist, please call (310) 794-7700.