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ASL Cancer Genetics is a part of a multi-year efforts of the Deaf Genetics Projects in partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles and Gallaudet University. This website was made possible with the funding from National Cancer Institute and the Genetic Alliance. the development of educational materials presented in this website was part of our research aiming to evaluate the effectiveness of providing health information in ASL to Deaf individuals compared to English text. The project team has adapted and expanded this material for the public at ASL Cancer Genetics consists of two main sections: educational modules and a teacher’s section.


The educational modules will guide you to understand how to evaluate your family for the possibility of inherited cancer and what to do if your family seems at high risk for inherited cancer. Modules 1-2-3-4 include short quizzes to evaluate your comprehension of the information. The information is presented in American Sign Language and is accompanied with different formats of written English text: closed captioning with the ASL videos, or by downloading an electronic copy of a full transcript with illustration in Epub or PDF.
  • Introduction
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    Introduction module will discuss what is cancer and genetics, and how they are related. Some examples of inherited and not inherited cancers are discussed. This module gives an overview of some risk factors of cancer and some basic statistics.
  • Module 1
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    Module 1 uses an illustration to guide you on how to create your family tree with both sides of your family: your mother and father with several generations. This module describes essential information to collect about your family related to their health.
  • Module 2
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    Module 2 will analyze the illustrated family tree developed in Module 1 to identify five important risk factors for inherited cancer.
  • Module 3
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    Module 3 will explain the role of cells, DNA, and genes in inherited cancer. The concepts of predisposition and mutation are also discussed.
  • Module 4
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    Module 4 will discuss what steps to take after analyzing the risk actors from the illustrated family tree. An overview of the process of genetic counseling and genetic testing is described so that you can have a better idea of how this information can help you and your family understand and reduce inherited cancer risk.
  • Review
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    This section will review the risk factors of inherited cancer, and the importance of creating a family tree and identifying your family’s health history before meeting with a genetic counselor or taking a genetic test.


In addition to providing health information in ASL, we developed a 16-page visual guide to help the Deaf community learn about the risks of inherited cancer. this guide was developed to align with the six ASL educational modules. You can request a hard copy of the booklet by contacting us or by downloading an electronic copy in Epub or PDF. Please feel free to share this material with your family and friends.
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Teacher’s Section — Available in June 2015