Genetic Testing for Cancer

We use genetic cancer testing to help you understand your cancer risk and find ways to prevent cancer.

Genetic Testing for Cancer

We use genetic cancer testing to help you understand your cancer risk and find ways to prevent cancer.

Comprehensive Cancer Genetic Testing

Approximately 5-10% of cancers are inherited. Our USC Cancer Genetics Program team uses genetic testing for cancer to identify your risk of developing cancer. We provide screening, prevention and treatment options for you and your family.

Our team-based approach combines what we know about how cancers form with the latest advances in cancer care to better understand your condition. We work together to examine your family history, check for features of hereditary syndromes and provide the tests that are right for your needs.

We leverage our comprehensive evaluations to identify your inherited cancer risks and help you and your family members access recommended cancer screening and prevention options.

The genetic and cancer experts on your team use your cancer genetic testing results to create a care plan designed specifically for you. Whether you’re looking for individual genetic testing or you also need care for your extended family, we will be by your side for all your cancer prevention, detection and treatment needs.

Your Genetic Testing Care Team

Our team of experts includes genetic counselors, nurse practitioners and physicians who specialize in genetics and hereditary cancer.

Our Team

Darcy V. Spicer, MD

Genetic Counselors

Julie Culver, MS, LCGC, CCRP, Director of Genetic Counseling
Emmeline Chang, MS, LCGC
Jacob Comeaux, MS, LCGC

Our Location

Conditions We Treat

Our experts evaluate and provide genetic testing for a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Bone and soft tissue cancer (sarcoma)
  • Brain cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cowden syndrome
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome
  • Hereditary cancer
  • Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Melanoma
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Retinoblastoma (Rb)
  • Stomach cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Urologic cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome

Treatments We Offer

  • Comprehensive screenings
  • Genetic counseling
  • Genetic testing
  • Medication therapy
  • Risk-reducing surgery

Appointment Options

There are several ways to connect with Cancer Genetics at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Patients can call (323) 865-0911 to schedule an appointment. When you call for an appointment with Cancer Genetics, we will arrange for you to meet with a genetic counselor in person or by telemedicine. We are able to accommodate urgent cases and expedite testing as needed.

Preparing for Your First Meeting

Before your appointment, you will be asked details about your health and your family history via an online questionnaire. Counselors will review your history and will ask follow-up questions in order to provide risk assessment. You can prepare for your visit by collecting information about cancer that has occurred in your family, including type of cancer and age of diagnosis. You can also ask whether other relatives have had genetic testing and try to obtain a copy of their genetic test report.

Genetic Testing

When you arrive at your appointment, your genetic counselor will evaluate your history and will be able to help you decide whether genetic testing would be beneficial to you. Genetic testing is typically performed by a blood or saliva test, and your results will usually take three to four weeks to come back. Certain types of results may be ready even sooner. Almost all insurance companies cover the cost of genetic testing when it is recommended by your Keck Medicine of USC genetics team. Testing is sent to outside laboratories. Your insurance will be verified by the lab before any testing is started. If testing is not covered by your insurance plan, we may have research opportunities for which you may be eligible. In some cases, we may recommend that your family members also consider genetic testing.

Testing Results

While genetic test results are typically given by phone for patient convenience, we offer in-person, follow-up appointments for a detailed discussion of the results. Your dedicated team will develop screening and prevention recommendations to help keep you and your family healthy.

Follow-Up and Education

The genetic counselor on your team will assist with determining any further preventive procedures, as well as any treatments for existing conditions. The team will help you make informed choices about cancer prevention and your care. We may also make referrals for enhanced screening for conditions, including:

  • Female cancer risk — The multidisciplinary Lynne Cohen Preventive Care Clinic is dedicated to the prevention of women’s cancers, such as breast, ovarian and uterine cancer, and is staffed by genetic counselors, a breast surgeon, a gynecologic oncologist and a breast oncologist. Women who have a genetic risk of these cancers may benefit from this multidisciplinary approach to patient care. It is open every other Wednesday.
  • Urologic cancer risk — Management of hereditary syndromes with high risk of urologic cancer, such as kidney or prostate cancer, is coordinated with a dedicated service combining medical oncology and genetics.
  • Gastrointestinal cancer risk — We work closely with advanced gastroenterologists and medical oncologists who help manage patients at high risk of colon, stomach or pancreatic cancer.

Taking Care of Your Family Members

Regardless of your genetic test results, our goal is to keep your family healthy. If a mutation is found, we will facilitate testing for your relatives and help to make sure you can communicate the result with your family. For your relatives who live in other locations, we facilitate referrals to genetics centers in the United States and internationally. We try to ensure that you are able to communicate information to the relatives who need it the most. If a mutation is not found, we can offer preventive screening tips for your relatives and can connect them with screening services available at Keck Medicine.

Resources

ORIEN Research Study
Launched in 2015, ORIEN is a cancer genetics research study that aims to create more specific treatment plans for cancer patients.
www.uscnorriscancer.usc.edu/orien

Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA)
Our AYA program offers patients who are 39 and younger support for issues that are unique to young adults with cancer.
www.aya.usc.edu

News and Articles

Why Choose Us for Cancer Genetic Testing

We use the latest advances in genetic testing for cancer to deliver a full range of prevention, early detection and treatment options.

Your care team includes genetic counselors and experienced cancer doctors.

We offer access to clinical trials that drive innovations in cancer testing and treatment and improve patient outcomes.

Our team leads research studies to identify cancer genes, improve genetic testing for cancer and personalize cancer prevention.

We are among the top cancer care programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Latest News & Articles