April 20, 2022
Cheyenne, WY—The Cheyenne Regional Cancer Center is now providing genetic cancer risk assessments to help individuals determine if they have a genetic variant that could put them at a higher risk for developing cancer.
“The recommendation for genetic testing can be based on many factors,” said Greta Skagen, a nurse practitioner and the center’s certified genetic risk assessment counselor.
“Those factors might include a patient’s history of cancer or other health history, a patient with family members who have tested positive for a genetic cancer syndrome, a family history that suggests a genetic cancer syndrome or patients with risk factors who don’t know much or anything about their family history,” Skagen said.
An assessment starts with Skagen reviewing the patient’s personal and family health history and the patient’s medical record for cancer and other conditions.
The potential pros and cons of testing in addition to testing options, insurance coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs are also discussed.
“Before proceeding, it’s important to know a person’s goals for testing and how the person feels about genetic testing in general,” Skagen said.
An individual who meets the criteria and decides to move forward will need to provide a blood or saliva sample for the test. Tumor tissue from a biopsy or surgery might also be tested. Urgent results are available within about six days. It may take up to six seeks to receive non-urgent results.
Skagen reviews the results and explains the findings to patients and can help them determine their next steps.
“We discuss what the results indicate in terms of a patient’s risk for cancer and recommendations for cancer prevention strategies,” Skagen said. “The implications for family members will be discussed, as well, including if genetic counseling and testing are advised for family members and any recommendations for cancer risk management.”
Results and recommendations are also sent to the patient’s referring provider.
“We are here to help individuals and families understand their cancer risk and make informed decisions about prevention strategies and options,” Skagen said.
More information about Cheyenne Regional’s genetic cancer risk assessment program is available by calling the cancer center at (307) 634-9311.