Cancer is rare in children. There are children, however, born with an increased risk of developing cancer. The Gill Center Cancer Susceptibility Program provides families of children with genetic predispositions to cancer with access to the most advanced genetic counseling, ongoing screening and oncology specialists. It is the only program of its kind in North Texas.
There are a number of cancer predisposition syndromes. The most common is neurofibromatosis, for which we have a separate program (see page 10). Our staff also cares for families with other identified genetic syndromes, and family histories. Common cancer predisposition syndromes include:
Children are referred to our program when they have a family history of cancer that suggests they could have an increased risk of cancer; when they have a family member diagnosed with genetic predisposition to development of cancer; or when they already have developed a cancer that is associated with an underlying genetic disorder. We manage the program in coordination with experts in cancer genetics from UT Southwestern.
Cancer predisposition syndromes tend to run in families. Sometimes family members are aware, and other times they are not. Our genetic counselors are experts at educating families about the implications of cancer predisposition syndromes on various members of the family, including parents and siblings, as well as any future children of individuals with these syndromes.