Are Your Patients at Risk for Hereditary Cancer?

Saint Elizabeth Cancer Institute has a full-time Cancer Genetic Counselor, Stephanie Percich, MS, CGC, who helps individuals understand their inherited risk for cancer. As a part of their commitment to cancer care and prevention, cancer genetic counseling is offered at no charge.

Percich has a master’s degree in Genetic Counseling, which includes training in both medical genetics and counseling. She is also board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Her expertise allows her to assist your practice by offering an assessment of your patients’ hereditary cancer risk and recommendations for medical management of that risk. This helps to increase early detection of cancer and reduce your patients’ risk of developing cancer.

The initial consultation includes:
• Collecting a detailed personal and family history, which is used in conjunction with available risk assessment models to determine an individual’s risk of developing cancer
• Determining whether the history is suggestive of a hereditary cancer syndrome
• Educating the patient about cancer genetics, relevant hereditary cancer syndromes, their cancer risks, and the option of genetic testing, including the risks, benefits, and limitations
• Coordination of genetic testing (when appropriate) and interpretation of results
• Discussing medical management options
• Providing psychosocial support

The cancer risk information collected is communicated back to the physician, so that you can appropriately manage the individual’s cancer risk. For patients who are candidates for genetic testing, insurance often covers the cost at 80 - 90 percent or greater. Medicare may pay 100 percent of the cost in high-risk cases.

If you have a patient that would benefit from a consultation or any questions, please contact Stephanie Percich by phone (402) 219-5265 or email spercich@stez.org.

Genetic counseling benefits

For your practice:
• Better assessment of your patients’ hereditary cancer risk
• Individualize patients’ medical management
• Increase early detection
• Reduce your patients’ risk of developing cancer

For your patients:
• Identify inherited risk factors to provide information for your patients’ family members
• Empower your patients with knowledge to make informed decisions regarding their cancer risk management options
• Alleviate stress and concern around the health of your patients and their family members

Cancer Genetic Counseling

Approximately 5 - 10 percent of cancer is due to an inherited gene change that can be passed on in the family. Having one of these gene changes can dramatically increase your patient’s risk of developing cancer. Individuals with a personal and/or family history of any of the following may benefit from a genetic counseling consultation.

• Cancer diagnosed at or before the age of 50 (especially breast, ovarian, colon, uterine/endometrial and pancreatic)
• Bilateral cancer
• Multiple primary cancers in one individual
• Two or more close relatives with the same or related cancer (e.g. breast and ovarian; colon and uterine)
• Multiple generations affected
• Rare cancers (e.g. male breast cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, pheochromocytoma)
• Other features associated with a hereditary cancer syndrome (e.g. multiple colon polyps)

The American Society of Clinical Oncology1 (ASCO) recommends that genetic testing be offered when:
1. The individual has personal or family history features suggestive of a hereditary cancer syndrome
2. The test can be adequately interpreted
3. The results will aid in diagnosis or influence medical/surgical management of the patient or family members
Furthermore, ASCO recommends that genetic testing only be performed with adequate pre- and post-test counseling, which should include a discussion of the potential risks and benefits.

Reference

1. American Society of Clinical Oncology (2003). American Society of Clinical Oncology Policy Statement Update: Genetic Testing for Cancer Susceptibility. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 21(12), 1-10.