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.
- 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
- Referrals are managed by Peter Mac
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
- An optional reminder service about timing of tests
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.
Referrals to Peter Mac
Referrals for this service are managed by Peter Mac. Go to the Peter Mac Referrals page for referral guidelines and pathway information.
HealthPathways Melbourne provides guidance on best practice assessment and management of common medical conditions, including when and where to refer patients.
Parkville Connect is a secure web-based portal providing GPs, specialists and other health professionals with information in the Parkville electronic medical record (EMR).
Breast and ovarian cancer
A small number of families have a greater risk of breast and ovarian cancer because they carry an inherited altered gene.
Patients may benefit from contacting us if they meet one or more of the following guidelines (on the same side of the family):
- Multiple close relatives with breast or ovarian cancer
- Family member who developed breast cancer at less than 40 years of age and/or ovarian cancer at less than 50 years of age
- Family member who has had both breast and ovarian cancer or more than one breast cancer
- Male family member with breast cancer
- Family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer and Jewish ancestry
More detailed guidelines for referral can be found at eviQ (one-off free account creation is required).
You can use iPrevent, an online cancer risk assessment tool to help determine whether a referral is appropriate.
For patients who are interested in finding out whether it may be appropriate to attend the Familial Cancer Clinic, see Cancer Australia's Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk calculator. Note that this tool is just a guide and we recommend patients have a discussion with their GP as the preferred initial step.
Bowel cancer is a common condition but in some families the risk is increased due to an inherited predisposition.
Family members who may be at increased risk include those with:
- Multiple close relatives with bowel, uterine and ovarian cancers
- Family member who developed bowel cancer at less than 50 years of age or has had two or more bowel, uterine or ovarian cancers
- Relative with bowel cancer with a large number of adenomas (polyps) throughout the bowel
Use Cancer Victoria's 'Check your cancer risk' tool to help determine whether a referral is appropriate.
Other reasons for patients contacting our service could be:
- Several relatives have the same type of cancer
- Patient’s relative has been found to carry an altered gene
- Patient is concerned about their family history and would like more information
Links & documents
Interpreters & cultural support
We provide qualified, professional interpreters to help you communicate with us at any time during your stay and at your clinic appointments.
- Μάθετε περισότερα γιά διερμηνείς & υποστήριξη κουλτούρας
- Scopri di più sugli interpreti e sul supporto culturale
- Tercümanlar ve kültürel destek hakkında daha fazla bilgi edinmek için
- Tìm hiểu thêm về thông dịch viên và hỗ trợ văn hóa
- لمزيدٍ من المعلومات عن خدمة الترجمة الشفهية والخدمات الثقافية
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
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
Start your Telehealth video call at your appointment time by joining this waiting room.