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FLAGLER & VOLUSIA COUNTIES, Fla., May 14, 2018 – Florida Hospital recently hosted two free community luncheons focused on genetic counseling for cancer risk.
Featuring Cindy Trawick, board certified advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) and Florida Hospital’s specially trained genetic counselor, the two events were on April 24 at the Halifax Plantation Clubhouse in Ormond Beach and on May 8 at the Victoria Gardens Clubhouse in DeLand.
“Most cancers occur in people who do not have a strong history of that cancer. This is called sporadic cancer,” Trawick said during the luncheon.
Trawick went on to explain that familial cancer occurs in some families where multiple members have the same kind of cancer, or related kinds of cancer. Familial cancer is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
“In familial cancer, one or more family members may have the same type of cancer, but there is not a pattern of inheritance, as there could be environmental influences as well,” she said. “However, between 5-10 percent of people have hereditary cancer.”
Hereditary cancer is a risk of developing cancer that is passed down through generations by inheriting genes with mutations.
“Overall, inherited mutations are thought to play a role in about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers. Because the risk of developing cancer is much higher in families with hereditary cancer than the general population, determining which family members have an inherited gene mutation is very important,” Trawick explained. “Genetic counseling can help estimate your chance of developing cancer by searching for specific changes – or mutations – in your genes. Genetic testing is the only way to identify gene mutations which could impact your medical management.”
The genetic testing labs strive to make the testing process as simple and cost effective as possible, Trawick said. Approximately 3 out of 4 patients pay nothing for genetic counseling for cancer risk and nearly 97 percent of private insurance companies cover hereditary cancer testing.
Trawick also dedicated time during the luncheons to address confidentiality concerns.
“The genetic testing labs can only release the results to the physicians who ordered the tests; they do not share these results with the insurance companies,” she said.
She went on to explain a federal law that was enacted in 2008. Called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), this federal law protects Americans against discrimination based on their genetic information regarding both health insurance and employment.
“This law paves the way for people to take full advantage of personalized medicine without fear of discrimination,” Trawick said. “In addition, 32 states have also enacted state laws to further strengthen protection against genetic discrimination in varying levels.”
In 2017, the Florida Hospital Cancer Institutes in Volusia and Flagler counties began offering genetic counseling. This comprehensive, customized program supports those who have, or may be at risk for, hereditary cancer conditions. Visit www.FloridaHospitalCancer.org/genetic-counseling-and-screening to learn more.
About Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region
A member of Adventist Health System, Florida Hospital’s mission is to extend the healing ministry of Christ. Encompassing seven Florida Hospitals in Flagler, Lake and Volusia counties, the Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region is the largest hospital system in the area, with 1,226 beds and more than 7,800 employees. The Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region includes Florida Hospital DeLand in DeLand, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City, Florida Hospital Flagler in Palm Coast, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida Hospital Oceanside in Ormond Beach, Florida Hospital New Smyrna in New Smyrna Beach, and Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares.