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.