There’s a new cancer risk assessment program right here at Lake Health that makes it easier for patients to identify and manage their risk for cancer.
The new Cancer Prevention Center is located at the Perrico Health Campus in Willoughby. It uses risk assessment and genetic testing to determine if a patient is at high risk for hereditary cancer. Genetic testing can identify inherited gene mutations that may increase the risk for breast, ovarian, colon, uterine, gastric, pancreatic, melanoma and prostate cancer.
“I’ve spent my career trying to detect cancers in an early stage,” says gynecologist Liese Vito, MD, medical director of the Lake Health Cancer Prevention Center. “This is the first time I’ve felt positive about more effectively preventing cancer completely, especially in some patients at higher-than-average risk. We can now screen for a total of 34 genetic markers that show if a patient is predisposed to developing certain cancers in their lifetime.”
How it works
Lake Health currently offers cancer risk assessments at routine mammography and gynecological visits. By the end of 2019, we hope to provide the assessment in all Lake Health primary care practices. The self-assessment, completed on a tablet, calculates cancer risk in minutes, based on family history and factors specific to the individual.
For patients identified as high risk, we offer genetic testing and collect a blood or saliva sample at that same visit.
Lake Health partnered with Ambry Genetics to provide genetic testing to eligible patients. Due to Ambry’s extensive contracts with insurance companies, testing is affordable and accessible for most patients. Four out of five patients pay $0. For those who do pay, the average cost is less than $100.
Results are available in two to three weeks. A physician will provide the results in person and discuss implications for future care. No-cost genetic counseling is available to patients who test positive for a cancer gene mutation.
Prevention is next
Using the risk assessment and genetic testing results, the Cancer Prevention Center will make individualized recommendations to reduce the patient’s risk of developing cancer. They’ll create a personalized screening plan to detect cancer early when it’s most treatable. They may also recommend surgeries or medication to reduce cancer risk.
“Genetic testing gives us the opportunity to more effectively prevent cancer and save lives,” says Dr. Vito.
For more information about hereditary cancer risk, call 440-269-2610.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019 there will be 1.7 million new cancer cases diagnosed in the US.
In patients with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, the lifetime risk for developing breast cancer can reach 50 to 70 percent, compared to a 12 percent risk for the general population. These mutations tend to bring more aggressive disease and develop at a younger age. Frequent MRI and ultrasound screening can detect cancer at an early, potentially curable stage—two to three years sooner than traditional mammography.