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Cancer Genetics Service

The Cancer Genetics Service (CGS) provides genetic counselling to individuals with a personal and/or family history of cancer. While the majority of cancers occur by chance (sporadic), small percentages (5-10%) are caused by an inherited gene fault. This is associated with hereditary cancer, in which individuals and their family members may be at increased risk for certain cancers compared to the general population. 

When should you suspect hereditary cancer in your family? 

Here are some factors that suggest a hereditary cancer syndrome may be present in your family. 

What are the benefits of knowing you may be at risk of hereditary cancer? 

Once a faulty gene has been found in the family, all family members (males and females) are strongly recommended to undergo predictive testing to understand their risks of developing cancer. Not all family members inherit the faulty gene (increasing their risk for cancer) and therefore testing helps to identify family members that inherited the faulty gene and reassure those that didn’t. 

People in the family who have inherited the faulty gene have several options to minimise their risk of developing cancer. These may include early screening, preventive medications or risk-reducing surgery. 

Family members who did not inherit the faulty gene can avoid unnecessary check-ups and screening. Their risk of developing cancer would be the same as someone of the general population. 

What should you do if you suspect hereditary cancer in your family? 

If you have a personal or family history suspicious for a hereditary cause, you may want to discuss this with your general practitioner (GP). Your doctor may refer you to Cancer Genetics Service to speak with a genetic counsellor. 

You may also call our appointment number at 6436 8088 for an appointment with CGS. 

What can you expect from a genetic counselling session? 

You will meet with a genetic counsellor and/or a medical oncologist with specialised genetics training to discuss the implications of genetic testing for you and your family. You may be offered clinical genetic testing after an assessment if a hereditary cause is suspected. This will help you and your family members manage your risk for cancer.  

The CGS is clinical arm of the Familial and Rare Cancer Programme. 

The CGS Vision 

We aspire to empower patients, their family members and healthcare professionals with the knowledge of cancer genetics to improve the management of cancer risk management for individuals, their family members and the public at large. 

The CGS Mission 

CGS will achieve its vision through three key methods 

  1. Empowering patients to take charge of their personal health 
  2. Shifting the focus of cancer risk management beyond individual patients to family units 
  3. Educating healthcare professionals and the greater community about hereditary cancer syndromes 

Research happening in the CGS 

In addition to the delivery of high quality clinical care, CGS at NCCS is actively contributing towards research on an international scale. Our research expertise lies in translational human genetics and genomics targeted at heritable and sporadic solid tumorigenesis. Our research program employs multidisciplinary approaches to identify and characterise novel gene variants that cause cancer predisposition, which is imperative for the design of better methods for cancer detection, prevention and treatment. 

Education efforts led by the CGS 

The team also provides education and training for aspiring genetics professionals. We are also strong advocates in raising awareness and providing education to both the public and healthcare professionals. We have developed patient support programmes for individuals and their families who have been identified to have a hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome. 

People of the CGS 

We are a team of diversely trained Master’s level genetic counsellors and clinical oncologists with specialised training in genetics. The team, led by Dr Joanne Ngeow, is internationally known for their specialisation in clinical cancer genetic practice; the service was commended by the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) at its 2017 annual meeting for implementing a genetic counsellor-led model that raises standards of clinical cancer genetics services in Asia.