UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital now offers genetics counseling at the Wendt Regional Cancer Center. Genetics counseling helps individuals understand their risks for cancer due to their family history. Heredity is one factor that can play a role in the development of certain types of cancers, such as breast, colon, ovarian, and endometrial.
Genetic counseling is an opportunity to meet with Shana Coker, ARNP, Finley’s trained genetics nurse practitioner. Coker has additional training in genetics and cancer risk counseling and testing. During a genetic counseling session, individuals will meet with Coker to help understand his/her inherited cancer risks. Based on family history, education will be provided about reducing risks for cancer and information regarding genetic testing.
A genetic counseling session has four possible components. Prior to the first session, the individual will be asked to complete an extensive family history form. During the first session, which typically takes one to two hours, individuals will discuss medical history and family history based on the information provided. The first session includes education about reducing cancer risk factors and information regarding genetic testing, another component of the counseling. Not everyone who uses genetic counseling completes a genetic test. For those that choose to move forward with the test, a simple blood test is performed. If the genetic test is completed, a post-test education session is arranged. Coker will help individuals understand the results and steps towards a healthy future.
Individuals who have a personal history that includes any of the following may benefit from genetic counseling: a family member diagnosed with cancer before age 50; multiple family members diagnosed with the same type of cancer; two or more types of cancer have been diagnosed in the same person; or a known genetic abnormality in a family member.
The cost of genetic counseling at Finley Hospital is free, thanks to funds from the Pink Ribbon Open. If individuals choose the additional genetic testing, charges do apply and would be reviewed in advance of the testing.