About the William C. Bernstein MD Familial Cancer Registry of the Cancer Risk Management Program

The goal of the registry is to reduce the risk of cancer for these families by education and research pursuits.

Hereditary, environmental, and chance events all can play a role in the development of cancer. In most cases of cancer, heredity is not the primary cause of the cancer. However, in some families, hereditary risk factors strongly increase the cancer risk. This is known as "hereditary" cancer. In other families, hereditary factors influence the risk of cancer to a smaller degree and this is known as "familial" cancer.

Familial Cancer RegistryThe goal of the William C. Bernstein, M.D., Familial Cancer Registry is to identify families at risk of hereditary cancer and to ensure that they receive appropriate cancer screening and medical management. We are partnering with University of Minnesota Health's Cancer Risk Management Program so that Registry participation will be offered to all patients receiving cancer genetic counseling. Past patients will be contacted for participation on a rolling basis.  This joint clinical-research endeavor will increase the number of family histories linked with medical records which allows more discoveries to be made.

Registry goals

  • Identify and follow people at risk for familial cancer at all University of Minnesota Health Cancer Risk Management Program sites and refer them to systems of care in order to prevent cancer when possible, or to detect it early if it does occur.
  • Educate patients and families with familial cancer about familial cancer.
  • Educate providers who care for familial cancer patients and families about familial cancer.
  • Increase knowledge about familial cancer and hereditary risk through research.
  • Evaluate and improve systems and services that provide care for familial cancer.

If you have an increased risk of cancer because of your family history, you can take action to lower your risk of developing or dying from cancer.

About William C. Bernstein

William C. Bernstein, M.D., was a visionary colon and rectal surgeon, educator, and researcher. A generous donation in his name from an anonymous donor allowed this comprehensive familial cancer registry to become reality. Learn more about William Bernstein.

How to support the registry

To support the Registry, you can contribute online through the University of Minnesota Foundation website, or call 612-624-3333 or 800-775-2187.

Cancer genetics service providers

Family health history resources


Principal Investigator

Robert D. Madoff, M.D.



M Health Cancer Risk Management Program: 
For cancer genetic counseling and familial cancer medical management call for appointments  at 

Locations: University of Minnesota (East Bank) Clinics and Surgery Center, Maple Grove Cancer Center, Edina (Southdale Cancer Center), Burnsville (Ridges Cancer Center), Wyoming (Lakes Cancer Center)  and Masonic Children's Hospital
Other locations: The National Society of Genetic Counselors www.nsgc.org

Advocacy organizations

Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA)
Founded by ovarian cancer survivors to fund ovarian cancer research in Minnesota, raise awareness of the disease and to provide support to women with ovarian cancer and their families.

Facing Our Risk for Cancer Empowered (FORCE)
Exists to improve the lives of individuals and families affected with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The Minnesota Network for FORCE has information on local efforts to provide information, support, awareness, and advocacy for individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Works to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures for breast cancer.

Colon Cancer Coalition
It's mission is to make colon, colonoscopy and colorectal every day language, help to overcome fear and decrease deaths from colon cancer.

American Cancer Society (ACS)
Provides information and services to people and families affected with cancer and funds cancer research