Kara Bui (right), a Certified Genetic Counselor, will head up the new department providing genetic testing and counseling for a variety of cancers including breast, colon, ovarian, uterine, pancreatic, and melanoma.
The Department of Clinical Genetics will soon provide maternal-fetal counseling as well for common genetic disorders including Down syndrome, sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis.
“If we know a patient’s risk level we can use that information to help them prevent cancer and take advantage of the appropriate screening options based on his or her risk level,” says Bui, who has provided genetic counseling services in the Roanoke Valley for more than six years. “We will offer a personalized, compassionate approach to help patients deal with both the technical and emotional aspects of their cancer risk.”
For example, a patient diagnosed with a mutation in the gene BRCA1 or BRCA2 has up to a 60 to 87 percent lifetime risk for developing breast cancer and up to a 44 percent risk for developing ovarian cancer. Armed with this information, the patient may benefit from adding breast MRI to her yearly breast cancer screening routine, and/or taking chemoprevention or considering risk-reducing surgery.
Says Victor E. Giovanetti, FACHE, president of HCA Southwest Virginia, “Human genetics is a growing field and we plan to stay on the forefront of the latest developments to provide our patients an exceptional level of care.”
About 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are hereditary. The risk of an inherited cancer is more likely if:
- Patient or close family member diagnosed with cancer at an unusually young age, such as breast, colon or uterine cancer under the age of 50
- Three or more close family members with same cancer or related cancers
- Patient or close family member with more than one new cancer in a lifetime
- Family history of rare tumors or uncommon cancers, such as male breast cancer
- Greater than 5-10 colon polyps