About This Program

Welcome to "Family History for Cancer Risk Assessment, Testing and Management." The goal of this program is to improve the primary care provider's ability to identify and manage individuals at increased risk of cancer based on family health history risk assessment. This program was developed for primary care providers including physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. The content is likely to be appropriate for other health professionals as well.

This program was developed by the Jackson Laboratory Clinical and Continuing Education Program in collaboration with external reviewers and actors, the Jackson Laboratory Multimedia Services, and The University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Office of Community and Continuing Medical Education. This program is jointly funded by the Maine Cancer Foundation and The Jackson Laboratory Director's Innovation Fund.

Role of Genetics in Cancer

One out of two men and one out of three women will develop cancer during their lifetimes. Among these individuals, five to ten percent have a hereditary syndrome that can cause them to develop cancer at a much earlier age than typical and have increased risk of developing multiple cancers. There is a free, simple genetic "test" that can help you identify individuals who would benefit from increased cancer screening: family history. This program demonstrates and allows you to practice quick, easy approaches to collecting, recording, and assessing cancer family history information

What to Expect from this Program

This program is case-based and addresses skills and knowledge about cancer family history risk assessment in four areas: collecting targeted family history information, recognizing red flags and inheritance patterns, assessing risk, and using family history information to manage patients. Each module takes approximately 15 minutes and includes the following:

  • short demonstration video of a clinical interaction,
  • practice cases,
  • detailed information for additional learning, and
  • point-of-care tools

Working through the videos and practice cases, you will practice identifying, assessing, and managing patients who are at different levels of cancer risk. The program also provides strategies for finding and collaborating with genetic experts, approaches to communicating risk, and tools to use in your practice.

Learning Objectives

akes approximately 15 minutes and includes the following:

  • Collect sufficient family history information
  • Analyze a detailed family history
  • Develop an appropriate evaluation plan based on personal and family history assessment
  • Communicate with families in a patient-centered way about genetic information


This program is jointly funded by the Maine Cancer Foundation and The Jackson Laboratory's Director's Innovation Fund.

Authors, Actors, and Reviewers

  • Emily Edelman, MS – The Jackson Laboratory
  • Abdullah Elias, MD - Shodair Children's Hospital, Department of Medical Genetics
  • Greg Feero, MD, PhD - Maine General Medical Center; Maine Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency program
  • Therese Ingram, MA – The Jackson Laboratory
  • Susan Miesfeldt, MD - Maine Medical Center; Cancer Risk and Prevention Program
  • Kate Reed, MPH, ScM – The Jackson Laboratory
  • Robin Schwartz, MS, CGC –UCONN Health, Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences

The following individuals were actors in the videos.

Nicole Cardano

Meg Haskell

Carl Karush

The videos were shot and edited by The Jackson Laboratory Multimedia Services with consultation from David Fuller of Airstream Pictures.


CME credits are granted through the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Learn more about CME in this program.


If you would like more information about this project, please contact us.