Our Services

The New Zealand Family Cancer Service is available to all New Zealanders.

The New Zealand Family Cancer Service is a 100% “telehealth” service. We will see you at a time you have booked and from a location that you are most comfortable talking to us from – which in most cases, is your own home.

Our provision of service model utilises “secure” online technology. This enables you to:

  • Request an appointment at a time that best meets your needs
  • Conduct your appointment from the comfort and security of your own home through video communications
  • Your consultation will be delivered in a confidential and professional manner, just like a face-to-face appointment.

Family Cancer

The New Zealand Family Cancer Service provides risk assessment and genetic testing in a supportive environment.

We aim to advise and treat both men and women who:

  1. think they may have an increased risk because of a strong family history of cancer
  2. have significant concerns but do not know their actual risk
  3. have been diagnosed with cancers that have a genetic predisposition

And who want to spend time ‘one on one’ with an expert who can help them.

We provide easily accessible online counselling with our genetic counsellors who are trained to listen carefully to your personal and family story and then decide the level of your risk of cancer. They will help determine whether you are at a greater risk of developing cancer than other New Zealanders.

If you are found to have an increased risk of cancer, our counsellor will then advise if you might benefit from testing your family genes for faults that might lead to increased risk of cancer. Gene testing via a saliva sample may help clarify your risk.

We can also offer pathways that may reduce your risk. These may include surveillance, screening tests and surgical options.

When we give advice, we are using up to date international scientific guidelines.

With your permission, we will work closely with your family doctor so that you will be surrounded with a highly dedicated, accessible, and focused team.

Common Types of Family Cancer:

Women’s Cancers Men’s Cancers Common Cancers
Breast Prostate Bowel
Ovarian Breast Bladder
Lining of womb (endometrium) Stomach (gastric)

About Genetic Counselling

This is provided by one of our Genetic Counsellors, who are health professionals with post graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counselling.

Prior to and during your appointment information about your medical and family history will be collected. The genetic counsellor will use this information to provide a risk assessment on whether you could have an inherited condition that causes a higher than usual risk for cancer.

They may also discuss the appropriateness, pros and cons of and types of genetic tests, along with your expectations and potential outcomes.

About Genetic Testing

Specific genes can be examined in the laboratory to look for any changes to their sequence that would mean that gene would not work in the way it was supposed to. Faulty genes can cause health problems, like a higher risk of developing certain cancers.

Genes can be tested either in sequence or multiple genes can be tested in a panel.

Different genes can cause similar problems so it is important to get detailed personal and family history to try to work out which gene may have a fault.

Genetic tests are performed on DNA extracted from a blood sample, and sometimes can be performed on saliva or cheek swabs as long as enough DNA can be extracted from the sample.

About Psychological Services

Our team includes psychologists who have extensive experience of working with individuals and families adjusting to the impact of inherited cancers and related issues.

Finding out that you, or that someone you love, have tested positive for a particular cancer gene can be devastating and cause a lot of distress and anxiety. There are many things to consider and many issues that can arise when someone tests positive, including different risk management strategies (prophylactic surgery or ongoing surveillance) and indeed if someone tests negative when other family members have tested positive.

We offer a confidential space to reflect and talk through these issues and formulate strategies for your physical and emotional wellbeing.

The team are also able to assist with coping with emotions associated with cancer diagnosis, during your treatment pathway and after treatment is completed.