As part of Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s collaborative agreement with the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, the CDH Cancer Care Program will begin a Cancer Risk Assessment and Genetic Testing Program. “Offering the Cancer Risk Assessment Program at CDH through our collaboration with Mass General Cancer Center means our patients and community members can get best-practice care without the need to travel out of the area,“says Carol Smith, RN, Chief Operating Officer.
The Cancer Risk Assessment Program provides evaluation, genetic counseling, genetic testing and referral for the ongoing monitoring, treatment and follow-up for hereditary cancers, including breast cancer, gynecologic cancers (ovarian, uterine, fallopian tube); gastrointestinal cancers (colon; rectal; pancreatic, gastric); endocrine cancers (thyroid, pituitary, adrenal) and skin cancers, (melanoma). On Thursday, Nov. 18, a Mass General Cancer Center licensed genetic counselor will be available to meet with patients at CDH who have a physician referral. Going forward, the counselor will be available every other month at CDH for the convenience of community members who may benefit from genetic counseling and testing. Appointments are arranged through a patient’s physician. Area residents who have questions about the new program should call the Cancer Care Program office at (413) 582-2028. George R. Bowers, MD, medical oncologist/hematologist and medical director of the CDH Cancer Care Program, says some individuals may have an “increased risk of developing cancer based on their personal and/or family history, and several members of a family, across multiple generations, may be affected.”
According to Mass General Cancer Center Senior Genetic Counselor Kristen Shannon, MS, CGC, an individual may consider genetic counseling for several reasons: An individual has already had cancer and is concerned about the risk of additional cancers for themselves and other family members, such as children or siblings. A close family member or several members of a family have had cancer, and an individual may want to determine if his or her own risk is elevated. An individual may have another medical condition that may increase the risk for cancer. For example, some people who have benign (non-cancerous) polyps in the colon my have an elevated risk for colon cancer. The Center for Cancer Risk Assessment at the Mass General Cancer Center is led by Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD, director of the Cancer Center, and is staffed by licensed genetic counselors as well as specialized physicians. About the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center An integral part of one of the world’s most distinguished academic medical centers, the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center is among the leading cancer care providers in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the Mass General Cancer Center as one of the top ten cancer centers in the country. Its nurses were the first in Massachusetts to achieve Magnet status in recognition of the hospital's exceptional nursing care. Known for providing customized, innovative treatments and compassionate care to both adults and children, the Cancer Center comprises 22 fully integrated, multidisciplinary clinical programs and a vast array of support and educational services. Its network of affiliations extends throughout New England and the southeastern U.S. The Cancer Center’s commitment to eradicating cancer is fueled by scientific investigation conducted as part of one of the largest hospital-based research programs in the nation. Through a powerful synergy between laboratory scientists and bedside physicians, the Mass General Cancer Center fosters innovation in all phases of cancer research. Physician investigators conduct nearly 400 clinical trials annually. The Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center is proud to be a founding member of a Harvard Medical School consortium designated by the National Cancer Institute as a comprehensive cancer center. This prestigious seven-member center forms the largest cancer research collaboration in the country. The promising new treatments developed through this partnership are revolutionizing the future of cancer medicine. About the Cooley Dickinson Hospital Cancer Care ProgramThe Cancer Care Program encompasses all aspects of cancer care including prevention, early detection, screening, diagnosis, treatment and support for patients and their families. The Cancer Care Program's multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists provides comprehensive medical care and seamless, coordinated referrals to appropriate settings for services that may not be available locally. The Cancer Care Program staff and physicians recognize that information is an essential component in coping with cancer and making decisions regarding treatment planning. The Cancer Care Program team helps guide patients, their families and friends as they cope with the physical, emotional, psychological, social, spiritual and financial concerns that often accompany a cancer diagnosis. In Nov. 2008, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer awarded Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s Cancer Care Program a three-year accreditation with eight commendations, the maximum number that can be awarded to a community hospital-based cancer program. For more information about Cooley Dickinson Hospital, call the Cooley Dickinson Marketing Communications office at (413) 582-2421 or visit www.cooley-dickinson.org.###
Cooley Dickinson Hospital • 30 Locust St. (Route 9), Northampton, Mass. • (413) 582-2000