Cancer Outreach and Risk Assessment
Cancer Screenings and Risk Assessment
Cancer navigators at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis support the area's only dedicated inpatient oncology unit and all individuals diagnosed with cancer. Our nurse navigators specialize in cancer care and help our patients understand their diagnosis, treatment and follow-up plan throughout their continuum of care. Cancer genetic testing and counseling is also available.
If you are identified with cancer risk factors, you'll meet with an Ascension Via Christi clinical nurse specialist, who is certified in oncology and genetics. This nurse specialist will give you the information you need to make an informed decision about genetic testing.
At Ascension Via Christi we also provide lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scan. Being a longtime smoker increases your risk of developing cancer. Ask your doctor is this screening is right for you.
Ascension Via Christi Cancer Outreach and Risk Assessment Program
Our care team includes a genetics practitioner who is board-certified in genetics and oncology, nurse navigators and patient advocates. We provide genetic testing and counseling to help determine the risk of developing cancer in the future. The Ascension Via Christi Cancer Outreach and Risk Assessment team provides screening, counseling, navigation and genetic testing services for those who want to be proactive about their future health.
How Genes Relate to Cancer
Genes can indicate likelihood of developing disease. Genetic testing can help discover mutations that may be related to cancer. Gene mutations can happen due to external causes (such as harmful levels of sunlight or tobacco), but can also happen at random inside a cell. Some of these mutations cause uncontrollable cell growth, which can then lead to cancer.
Inherited Mutations and Genetic Testing
Statistically, 5-10 percent of all cancers are related to an inherited mutation. Our genetic counselors are specially trained to help identify gene mutations that are associated with known hereditary cancer syndromes. Predictive gene testing can use this information in a couple of ways.
Our cancer care team seek to discover whether an existing health condition is related to an inherited mutation. This information is provided to our multi-disciplinary cancer care teams as part of your personalized care plan.
We look at your family's medical history to determine hereditary risk factors for your self. This information can also be helpful to other members of your family, siblings and children.
Considerations for Genetic Testing
- Multiple immediate family members have had cancer — particularly if it's the same kind of cancer
- Family history includes several cancers (breast cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, color cancer) that are known to be linked to a mutation in one specific gene
- A family member whose cancer develops at an early age
- Extended family members with rare cancers linked to an inherited gene mutation
- Polyps or other physical signs linked to hereditary cancers
- Discovery of a gene mutation in a family member who has already undergone testing
When considering risk-screening and testing, think about the emotions that might come up during and after the process. Waiting on and hearing the results could create fear and anxiety for you, or other family members who worry about their own well-being. Discovering an inherited mutation could create guilt or anger in the parent who passed it on or the child who received it. You may even have to deal with sensitive family subjects as a result — paternity, adoptions or other issues.
At Via Christi Cancer Outreach and Risk Assessment, genetic lab testing tests the blood or cheek cells. Your results will be sent to the program coordinator to discuss with you, and then forwarded to your primary care doctor. Throughout the entire process, we will work with your doctor to keep all involved informed.
For more information about CORA, call 316-268-5890