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Cancer Genetics

The Cancer Genetics Clinic has been established at Hermitage Medical Clinic by Prof David Gallagher, Consultant Oncologist and Medical Geneticist.

This service is supported by Jessica Kavanagh, Genetic Counsellor and Emily O’Donovan, Cancer Genetics Nurse.

The aim of this service is to identify individuals with a genetic predisposition to cancer through genetic testing and to promote the prevention or early diagnosis of cancer in individuals with an increased risk of cancer due to an inherited cause.

What happens during an appointment at the Cancer Genetics Clinic?
At the Cancer Genetics Clinic, an initial hereditary cancer risk assessment is carried out by the Genetic Counsellor/Genetic Nurse. The patient’s personal and family history is taken and their risk of having an inherited pre-disposition to cancer is assessed. Patients with a suspicious personal and/or family history of cancer may be offered genetic testing in line with established criteria, such as cancer diagnosed at an unusually young age and/or having multiple family member affected by cancer.

Genetic testing may not be useful for everyone who attends the Clinic and following the appointment consultation, some individuals decide that genetic testing is not for them.

For those undertaking genetic testing, pre-test genetic counselling is important so that the patient fully understands the implications that genetic testing may have for themselves and their relatives. The genetic test itself involves a blood test or a saliva sample collection.

What are the benefits of attending the Cancer Genetics Clinic?
Genetic testing in patients who currently have cancer or have had cancer in the past can help to direct treatment, clarify future cancer risks and provide other family members with information about their cancer risk.

If a faulty gene known to cause an increased risk of cancer is identified in a family, genetic testing can be offered to unaffected family members. This allows relatives to clarify their cancer risks and take screening and surgical options to reduce their cancer risk and promote early diagnosis.

Does my Health Insurance cover the cost of this service?
Some insurers such as VHI will cover the cost of genetic testing for certain hereditary cancer genes under some of their plans. Please find more information on their website: https://www.vhi.ie/members/genetic-testing.

Please check your insurer for more accurate cover details as this varies between insurers and specific plans. Referrals must be made via a GP or Consultant. The Cancer Genetics Clinic at the Hermitage Medical Clinic accepts referrals for non-VHI patients for cancer risk assessment and genetic testing on a private basis.

How do I access this service?
Please contact your GP or Consultant if you feel you wish to be referred for this service.
Referrals should be addressed to:

Prof David Gallagher
Suite 5, Hermitage Medical Clinic,
Old Lucan Road,
Dublin 20, D20 W722

Information for referrers:
GPs or Consultants referring their patients to the Cancer Genetics Clinic may find this brochure useful. Please download using this link: GP information – Cancer Genetics at Hermitage Medical Clinic.