University of Vermont

The University of Vermont Cancer Center

Familial Cancer Program

Schedule a Visit

Whether you’re an individual or a healthcare provider, the first step is to schedule an appointment with our genetic counselor, Wendy McKinnon, M.S., to learn more about the FCP program. For insurance purposes, individuals may need a referral from a primary care physician. Ms. McKinnon will ask for information about a family’s cancer history to determine whether a clinic visit and staff review are likely to be helpful. She’ll then arrange consultations for individuals or families as appropriate.

To schedule an appointment with Wendy McKinnon, please contact FCP Scheduler Nicole Forgan at (802) 847-8400.

If you have specific questions about the program, please contact Wendy McKinnon directly at (802) 847-4495.

Professional Staff

Marie Wood, M.D., Director of the Familial Cancer Program
Marie Wood, a medical oncologist, has been the director of the FCP since 1997. She cares for patients with all types of cancer, specializing in the treatment of breast cancer and melanoma. She is also actively involved in clinical research related to cancer genetics.

Marc Greenblatt, M.D.

A medical oncologist who joined the Vermont Cancer Center in 1995, Marc Greenblatt specializes in the care of patients with colorectal and other gastrointestinal cancers. He maintains an active research program on the molecular genetics of cancer.

Wendy McKinnon, M.S.

A certified genetic counselor with special expertise in cancer genetics, Wendy McKinnon has been the coordinator for the FCP since it was founded in 1994. She also is a clinical assistant professor in the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

Sandy May
As manager of the University of Vermont Cancer Center Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Sandy May is responsible for clinical DNA testing and research sample banking activities. Since the Laboratory’s special area of expertise is in hereditary cancers, most of Ms. May’s work is for the FCP.

Familial Cancer Program

The Familial Cancer Program (FCP) provides advanced, multidisciplinary care for individuals and families at elevated risk for developing cancer.

Providers with many different areas of clinical expertise work together to offer the most up-to-date information to individuals and families regarding their cancer risk.

Cancer Risk Assessment and Genetic Counseling

If you have concerns about your risk for developing cancer, you may wish to undergo cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling.

As part of our program, we will review your personal and family history, explain your risk, and discuss recommended cancer screening tests and opportunities for cancer prevention.

The primary goal is to identify individuals and families at increased risk for developing cancer, to promote awareness, early detection and cancer prevention. Some families may receive genetic counseling regarding specific inherited conditions that increase cancer risks.

Who is a candidate for cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling?

Individuals with a personal and/or family history of:

  • cancer diagnosed at a young age (e.g., breast or colon cancer before age 50)
  • close relatives with either the same type of cancer or certain combinations of cancers, especially breast and ovarian cancer or colon and uterine cancer
  • multiple primary cancers in the same individual (e.g., bilateral breast cancer; breast and ovarian cancer; two primary colon cancers; colon and uterine cancer
  • rare cancers (e.g., mudullary thyroid cancer; retinoblastoma; male breast cancer; adrenalcortical carcinoma)
  • multiple or unusual benign growths (e.g., multiple colon polyps)

Candidates also include:

  • relatives of individuals who carry a specific mutation in a known cancer susceptibility gene
  • individuals considering genetic testing for inherited cancer susceptibility
  • individuals who have undergone genetic testing through their physician and would like a more detailed discussion about their test results

What happens during cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling?

Cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling is performed by a genetic counselor with input from medical oncologists with special expertise in cancer genetics.

We provide the following services:

  • a detailed collection of cancer-focused personal and family medical history
  • an estimation of your risk of developing cancer based on this information
  • an estimation of the likelihood of an inherited cancer syndrome being present
  • a discussion about the option of genetic testing, including its risks, benefits and limitations
    psychosocial support and communications
  • information for your primary care/referring physicians to appropriately manage your cancer risk

Insurance Coverage for Cancer Risk Assessment and Genetic Counseling

Most insurance companies cover cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling and therefore can be billed directly.

All types of insurance are accepted, including Medicaid and Medicare. If you belong to a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), you must request a referral from your primary care provider.

If you have financial questions, please feel free to contact the customer service department at The University of Vermont Medical Center at 800-639-2719.

Last modified December 03 2014 01:41 PM