Personal/Family history of cancer



Why was I referred?
  • Personal history of cancer

  • Family history of cancer

  • Pre-symptomatic/predictive testing for cancer predisposition gene variant known in your family


The aim of a genetics referral is to accurately assess your cancer risk and provide you with information and recommendations for cancer screening and prevention. Genetic testing may be offered to some families.


What are the referral guidelines?

As we are a public health service we are not able to see everyone who is referred and therefore we have referral guidelines to assess whether a referral is accepted or decline. These guidelines are determined by eviQ.


Some of the features may indicate the presences of an inherited susceptibility to cancer include:

  • Several close relatives on the same side of the family with the same type of cancer.

  • More than one primary cancer in the same person.

  • Young age at cancer diagnosis (e.g. breast cancer under 40 years, colon cancer under 50 years).

  • A cluster of cancers that are known to be associated with certain genes (e.g. breast and ovarian cancer and the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes; colorectal and uterine cancer with Lynch syndrome genes).

  • Individual with Jewish ancestry and a family history of cancer



What happens when you receive my referral?

Your referral will be triaged to see a genetic counsellor depending on the nature of the problem in the family.


It is likely a letter with a family history questionnaire and consent forms will be sent to you following your referral to the genetic service. Following the return of your family history questionnaire and consent forms a risk assessment will be completed to determine your risk of cancer and whether genetic testing would be appropriate in the family.



Family history questionnaire

We ask for you to fill out the forms to the best of your ability. The questionnaire will ask you about yourself and your family structure and it is important to include information for all family members (affected and unaffected with cancer) asked about in the questionnaire.



Consent forms

Consent forms are used to gain consent from affect relatives with cancer or their next of kin to confirm the cancer diagnoses in the family. We ask for you to please pass these out and ask the appropriate relatives to fill them in to the best of their knowledge, and then return them to the genetic service.


If your family members are overseas we would recommend they fill out a consent form. Alternatively, you could try to obtain clinical letters and/or histology reports from your relatives.


Confirmations of diagnoses are important to our risk assessment and can alter any advice or recommendations we give to you.



What do I do with the completed forms?

Completed forms and documentation can be sent to the genetic service via the post or email. If you are having trouble completing the forms, please do let us know (Contact us).


If any of your relatives would like to talk to us about why we are asking for their consent, they are welcome to get in touch with us on the number listed above.



What do I do if I require additional forms or if I have lost my forms?

The forms can be downloaded from the links below:


Please include the family number on the forms, you will find this number on your original letter from the genetic service. If you are unable to find this number please call your local service to ask what your family number is.



What should I expect following a risk assessment?

After a risk assessment you will either receive notification of a face to face or a phone appointment to discuss the implications of your family history of cancer, screening recommendations and/ or genetic testing, if appropriate.


Due to the length of our waiting lists, we may write a letter back to you with screening advice in order to give you timely information.