The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Women’s work together to deliver comprehensive and coordinated familial cancer services across all three hospitals.

Key points

  • We deliver comprehensive and coordinated familial cancer services across three hospitals
  • We provide risk assessment, genetic counselling and testing
  • We provide advice about regular health checks and risk management options
  • Arrange an appointment through your GP or by calling us directly
Patients need a referral from their GP or healthcare provider. Access referral information

What we do

We provide a range of clinical services to people concerned about their risk of developing a cancer due to their family's history of cancer. 

We provide services for all areas of familial cancer, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer. Our services include:

  • Risk assessment
  • Genetic counselling and testing
  • Options for risk management
  • Advice about regular health checks
  • Psychosocial support

Clinics are held in several metropolitan and regional locations in Victoria, including:

  • The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH Parkville)
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • Andrew Love Centre (Geelong Hospital)
  • Warrnambool Community Health Centre (Warrnambool Base Hospital)

We support research in familial cancer and provide the opportunity to participate in research projects.

The Parkville Familial Cancer Centre is a member of the Department of Human Services' Victorian Family Cancer Genetics Service.

Who can use our service

We accept referrals for patients considered at potentially high risk of cancer.

For patients
For health professionals

Making an appointment

There are several ways to arrange an appointment:

  • Ask your doctor to complete a referral form
  • Ask your GP or specialist to send us a referral letter
  • Call us directly

Should I attend alone or with another person?

This is up to you. You may bring your partner, a family member, a friend, or attend alone. Some people find a support person helpful or want to include a family member as the information may also be relevant to them. We may ask family members to arrange a referral for themselves.

What happens next?

You may either be contacted by phone or you may be sent a family history questionnaire to collect some information about your family history of cancer, if it is known.

Our team of specialists will review your family history.

What happens at the appointment?

The following may happen at the appointment:

  • The discussion is lead by your questions and concerns.
  • You will meet with a genetic counsellor, a geneticist and/or another medical specialist such as a medical oncologist or gastroenterologist
  • You may also meet with a different medical specialist depending on your needs
  • The first appointment is about one hour
  • A second appointment may be arranged, depending on your circumstances

The information discussed can include:

  • An assessment of your family history of cancer
  • Medical advice regarding cancer health checks
  • Cancer, genetics, and genetic testing
  • Support
  • Research

What happens after an appointment?

After an appointment:

  • You and your doctors will receive a summary letter of the appointment
  • You will be referred back to your current doctor(s) for your ongoing health needs
  • You may choose to inform your family members about the outcome of your appointment
  • You can arrange a further appointment, if you wish
  • You or your doctors are welcome to contact us in the future with any questions or concerns

A visit to our centre is free, and all information is treated confidentially. Unless they specifically agree, we do not discuss a person's condition with other relatives.

What features are suggestive of a possible genetic cause?

The following suggest a possible genetic cause:

  • Breast cancer occurring before 40 years of age
  • Ovarian cancer at any age
  • Male breast cancer at any age
  • Multiple close relative with breast or ovarian cancer
  • One or more close relatives with breast or ovarian cancer and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
  • Bowel or uterine cancer occurring before 50 years of age
  • Multiple close relatives with bowel, uterine or ovarian cancer
  • Multiple bowel polyps
  • Several relatives who have had the same type of cancer (such as prostate cancer)
  • Family histories suggestive of a rare cancer syndrome
Head of service
Prof Paul James
Contact us
Genetic Medicine
Familial Cancer Centre
(03) 9342 4267
The RMH Parkville
Level 2 Centre
300 Grattan St, Parkville, Victoria
Patient using Telehealth


Start your Telehealth video call at your appointment time by joining this waiting room.

Last updated 04 March 2024