Cancer Genetics Matters

Welcome to Cancer Genetics Matters!

Welcome to the brand-new Cancer Genetics Matters blog. My name is Justin Lorentz and I’m a genetic counsellor at the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre. It’s no secret very few people know what a genetic counsellor is. A study came out last December showing 70% of Canadians have never heard of genetic counselling. What’s more, most people think our job is to help couples have children with desirable characteristics and help people understand their ancestry.  We don’t do either of those things – which makes sense because if we did, I wouldn’t be writing this post welcoming you to a cancer genetics blog…

Genetic counsellors are healthcare professionals specialized in genetics. We can wear many hats working in prenatal, pediatric and adult settings. Here at the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre we talk to individuals and families about their risk of having a genetic condition that increases their risk of cancer. We give information about that genetic condition then we talk about genetic testing and what it means if a genetic test comes back positive or negative. We’re trained to do all this in a non-directive,  simple and sensitive manner.

Genetics word cloud

 The goal of this blog is to provide information and generate discussion about topics, research and news related to individuals and families who have, or are at risk of having, a hereditary cancer syndrome. However, our main focus will be on Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) – individuals with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Aside from myself, other members of my team may post on certain topics that they’re particularly interested. I’m a part of a small but mighty group called the Cancer Genetics and High Risk Program. We’re made up of four genetic counsellors, three general practitioner doctors in oncology, a medical oncologist as well as many students and volunteers.

I hope you’ll follow along with this blog and if you have any questions or comments we’d love to hear them.

About the author

Justin Lorentz

Justin is a genetic counsellor and Male Oncology Research and Education (MORE) Program Lead.

Have a question about this post? Get in touch.