The Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin has been awarded a $48,728 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust to provide advanced technology that will allow newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families to receive genetic counseling remotely. The Otto Bremer grant will provide equipment for telemedicine meetings between doctors and patients at Hudson Hospital & Clinic, Hudson, Wisc. and a genetic counselor at the Cancer Center’s main campus located on the Westfields Hospital & Clinic health campus in New Richmond, WI or at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, MN, with any of the partner hospital members of the Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin, including Amery Hospital & Clinic, Baldwin Area Medical Center, Hudson Hospital & Clinic, Osceola Medical Center and St. Croix Regional Medical Center.
Cancer is a disease resulting from genetic mutations that cause uncontrolled and abnormal cell growth. Genetic testing can help determine if a patient’s cancer is due to an inherited gene, which can increase risk of recurring cancer or development of an additional cancer. The American Society of Clinic Oncology (ASCO) recommends that genetic testing be offered when an “individual has personal or family history suggestive of a genetic cancer susceptibility condition” and when the “results will aid in diagnosis or influence the medical or surgical management of the patient or family members at hereditary risk of cancer.” Genetic counselors can make recommendations about cancer management, treatment and risk assessment based on genetic testing results.
Genetic counseling is a small, but growing field of specialization. The American Board of Genetic Counseling, Inc., reports that there are only about 4,000 accredited genetic counselors in the United States, thus access to a genetic counselor may be limited. Patients may have to travel a great distance, which can delay results or deter patients from seeking such advice. Telemedicine technology allows patients and their oncologist to meet electronically with a genetic counselor while remaining at their home site.
“We are excited about this opportunity because unless it is an emergency patient, the wait to be seen by a genetics counselor can be up to 4-6 months,” said Jacqueline Nelson, director of oncology services at the Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin. “Thanks to this grant we are able to bring a service to our local communities that will help inform decisions on treatment and cancer management early in the process.”
About the Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin
The Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin offers help and hope to cancer patients and their families throughout Western Wisconsin. The Center was formed through a progressive and unique cooperative effort of Amery Hospital & Clinic, Baldwin Area Medical Center, Hudson Hospitals & Clinic, Osceola Medical Center, St. Croix Regional Medical Center and Westfields Hospital & Clinic. To learn more, please visit www.cc-ww.org.
About the Otto Bremer Foundation
Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. The Foundation strives to help build healthy, vibrant communities – communities are basic needs are met, mutual regard is prized and opportunities for economic, civic and social participation are within everyone’s reach. To learn more, please visit www.ottobremer.org.