SAN DIEGO--With more than 200 known hereditary cancers syndromes,
there is a clear opportunity for medical centers in this field,
said LeeAnne Vandegriff, RN, cancer risk assessment coordinator
at Harris Methodist Hospital, Fort Worth.
"It's important to point out that in our center and in other
centers across the country, it's not a money-making enterprise.
It's provided as a service to patients," Ms. Vandegriff said
at a symposium sponsored by the Society for Ambulatory Care Professionals
and Health Technology Assessment of the American Hospital Association.
The purpose of the Texas center is to identify high-risk family
members, educate them about their risk based on their heredity,
and provide screening recommendations.
Studies suggest that families with a history of cancer usually
overestimate their chances of getting the disease, Ms. Vandegriff
noted. "We feel that the assessment program helps give those
individuals a more realistic view of their risk," she said.
Institutions thinking about starting a genetic risk assessment
program need to follow a series of steps: Locate funding; find
a coordinator; develop a marketing program; and, if the service
is not being developed in-house, choose a reputable organization
to provide the service.
For its provider, Harris Methodist selected the Hereditary Cancer
Consulting Service, which is associated with OncorMed, a company
that provides genetic testing and software for hereditary cancer
consulting services, Ms. Vandegriff explained.