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Inherited Susceptibility to Cancer Clinic

The Rush Inherited Susceptibility to Cancer (RISC) Clinic has been open since 2000. It provides counseling to individuals on their cancer risk and personalized information on prevention and early detection of cancer. The program provides services for patients with a suspected genetic predisposition to any cancer, including breast, ovarian, endometrial and colon cancers.  


Kisha Johnson, CGC, has a joint appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rush University Medical Center. She has been at Rush for 9 years. She earned a Masters Degree in Genetic Counseling from Howard University in 2004 and became board certified in 2005. Kisha's areas of clinical interest include dysmorphology, congenital malformations, and hereditary cancer syndromes. She spends most of her time providing counseling in the Department of Pediatrics and the Rush Inherited Susceptibility to Cancer Center. Kisha shows her dedication and ethusiam for the profession by being a clinical supervisor for the Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling at Northwestern University. She also plays an integral role in teaching with several assigned lectures in the School of Medicine and Graduate School at Rush University.

Joshua Melson, MD, MPH,  is an assistant professor of medicine in the Section of Gastroenterology and Nutrition and medical director of the Sandra Rosenberg Registry for Hereditary and Familial Colon Cancer at Rush University Medical Center. He received his MD from Indiana University and a master’s degree in public health at the University of Minnesota. He completed his internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship at Rush University Medical Center. Melson's clinical practice focuses on colorectal cancer, hereditary gastrointestinal syndromes and endoscopic quality measures and screening. His research focus is on gastrointestinal cancers, including management and risk assessment in hereditary gastrointestinal cancers and cancer prevention.​

Lydia Usha, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine. She received her MD degree from North-Western State Medical University in St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia. She completed internship in Medicine at St. Petersburg Clinical Hospital #32, Russia, residency in Internal Medicine at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, California, and fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois.

Her areas of expertise are breast and gynecological cancers. She is also a specialist in cancer genetics and the Director of Rush Inherited Susceptibility to Cancer (RISC) Program.

Dr. Usha is board certified in Medical Oncology and holds memberships in American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Gynecological Oncology Group (GOG), and American Medical Association (AMA).
Her research interests include genetic predisposition to cancer as well as novel treatments for breast and gynecologic cancers. She has published in these areas.
She instructs medical residents and hematology/oncology fellows at Rush University within the areas of her expertise. She also teaches methods of creative thinking in biomedical sciences to trainees.​




Eligible individuals are checked with a blood test for germline mutations in single genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. For some patients, panels of genes associated with cancer predisposition are more appropriate.

Patients can receive genetic counseling and testing for sarcoma, leukemia and other rare cancer genetic syndromes.

Pre- and post-test counseling is provided. We also provide counseling of women with breast cancer risk factors, such as a strong family history or high-risk breast lesions.  Some people are recommended to take a medication to reduce their risk of cancer.  Some cancer patients with germline mutations are given the opportunity to participate in clinical trials with anti-cancer drugs targeting the mutations in the tumor.

Patients who require increased surveillance or preventative surgery are referred to specialists in the respective areas at Rush.

Psychological support is available for individuals at high risk for cancer.​

Accreditation and Recognition

Rush University Medical Center
1725 W. Harrison St.
Professional Building I
Suite 1010
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 942-5904
Fax: (312) 942-3192
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