Leaders in Cancer Genetics

Stanford's Cancer Genetics Program doctors and researchers have been instrumental in developing many of the leading technologies used to understand, diagnose, test and screen for hereditary cancer syndromes. This expertise allows our specialists to offer you personalized plans for managing your cancer risk.

Cancer Genetics Program
211quarryrd-paloalto
875 Blake Wilbur Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: 650-498-6000 Getting Here
Maps & Directions
875 Blake Wilbur Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: 650-498-6000 Getting Here

Our Doctors

Care and Treatment of Hereditary Cancers

Description of Genes

Genes are what determine your traits, such as eye color and blood type. They are contained on our chromosomes, which normally number 46 total (23 pairs) in each cell of our body. There are an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 different genes contained on these chromosomes. Genes are made of DNA. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA is made up of base pairs that provide the codes for making proteins. So, ultimately, a gene, or a section of our DNA, makes a protein. There is also DNA located in between genes, which does not code for anything in particular, but simply serves as "spacer." Therefore, not all of the DNA in our cells is used to make protein products.

Genes are found in pairs, just as the chromosomes are. One member of each gene pair is inherited from our mother, while the corresponding member of the gene pair is inherited from our father. Genes are expressed in different ways. For some genes, both copies are needed in order for the protein they make to work properly in the body. For other genes, only one copy is necessary. For yet other genes, how the gene works depends on which parent it was inherited from.

Genes that are present on the first 22 pairs of chromosomes are said to be autosomal. This means that both males and females are equally likely to have these genes. The last pair of chromosomes determines gender. Males have one X and one Y chromosome, while females have two X chromosomes. Therefore, women do not have any of the genes present on the Y, and men have only one copy of genes on the X.

The idea of inheritance was first described by an Austrian monk whose name was Gregor Mendel. Mendel performed experiments on garden peas to determine patterns of inheritance. These basic patterns are sometimes called "Mendelian" or "traditional" inheritance. The basic patterns of inheritance are: autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, and X-linked inheritance.

There are many different single gene defects that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below are some, for which we have provided a brief overview.

Education

Cancer in the Family

Many people have relatives with cancer but when should you be concerned about a genetic cancer risk? Who might benefit from genetic testing and how is it done?

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.

Before beginning treatment, ask your doctor about any clinical trials you should consider. Learn more about clinical trials for cancer patients.

For Patients

PREPARE FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Review the New Patient Packet for information about:

  • What to expect on the day of your appointment
  • Maps, directions, parking, public transit options, and contact information
  • Other patient resources

Bring completed forms found in the New Patient Appointment Letter and Pre-Visit Questionnaire.

AFTER YOUR APPOINTMENT

See the BRCA Decision Tool which guides the management of cancer risks for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.

MEDICAL RELEASE

Please fax the Medical Record Release Form to your new patient coordinator. The medical release form is an authorization form for external facilities to release medical records to Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics). 

International Patients
Phone: +1 650-723-8561
Email: IMS@stanfordmed.org

Call us to make an appointment

650-498-6000

For Health Care Professionals

PHYSICIAN HELPLINE

Phone: 1-866-742-4811
Fax: 650-320-9443
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics) provides comprehensive services to refer and track patients, as well as provides the latest information and news for physicians and office staff. For help with all referral needs and questions visit Referring Physicians.

HOW TO REFER

Fax a referral form with supporting documentation to 650-320-9443.

Please note, though this form is from Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), it is also used for all Cancer Center referrals.

Track your patients' progress and communicate with Stanford providers securely online.

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