New on-site genetic counseling program

Imagine the empowerment of knowing your cancer risks early enough to take action toward prevention.

That’s where genetic counseling at Tucson Medical Center comes in.

The TMC High Risk Breast Clinic has recently started an on-site genetic counseling program specializing in oncology genetics.

This year, a portion of the monies raised during the TMC Mega Raffle will support this valuable and growing program.

“We are thankful that we are able to offer genetic counseling to Tucson patients. This is such an important service,” said Katie Orr, TMC’s genetic counselor. “I am looking forward to helping more people learn about their risks so they can take action and hopefully prevent or identify cancer earlier with additional screening.”

What do genetic counselors do?

Genetic counselors are health care professionals with specialized training in genetics and counseling. They evaluate personal and family history to determine if there may be a genetic link to disease, and use genetic testing to see if there are mutations or abnormalities that can make someone more susceptible to certain diseases such as breast, ovarian and colon cancers.

Genetic counselors also provide counseling and serve as patient advocates.

Why is it important?

When it comes to cancer, early detection and prevention are key.

Genetic counseling can help patients learn about their possible risk of developing cancer, motivate them to be proactive and hopefully catch cancer as soon as it develops. It can also help identify at-risk family members.

Who should see a genetic counselor?

Genetic counseling can help thousands of people in our communities identify their cancer risks. Those with the following indications should ask their doctor about seeing a genetic counselor:

  • Cancer diagnosed at an unusually young age
  • Multiple close family members with the same type of cancer or related cancers
  • Two or more primary cancer diagnoses in the same individual
  • Rare cancers or unusual tumors (medullary thyroid cancer, retinoblastoma, hepatoblastoma, male breast cancer, adrenal cortical carcinoma, pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma)
  • Presence of other features associated with an inherited cancer syndrome such as multiple colon polyps

You can make a difference

“Mega Raffle contributions can make a huge difference in the lives of so many,” said Steve Siwik, TMC Foundation board chair. “The genetic counseling program enables us to empower patients with the knowledge of their cancer risks, and the support they need to make important medical decisions and lifestyle changes.”