Kettering Health Network at the national forefront of genetic testing

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Kettering Health Network at the national forefront of genetic testing

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Caroline Peterson, DO, OB/GYN, director of Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention for Kettering Health Network. CONTRIBUTED

For the past 40 years the American Cancer Society has recommended regular screening mammograms as one of the best forms of early breast cancer detection. Kettering Health Network joins the ACS in recommending that women age 40 and older receive a yearly screening mammogram.

In addition to its state-of-the-art mammography services, Kettering Health Network provides another kind of screen that can determine an individual’s risk for developing not only breast cancer, but several other kinds of cancer, before the first lump or bump appears.

All Kettering Breast Evaluation Centers, most OB/GYN practices affiliated with Kettering Health Network, and some Kettering Health Network family medicine providers include their patients in a cancer risk stratification program known as TRAC, short for Transforming Risk Assessment in Cancer (TRAC), which uses family history and genetic screening to identify patients who are at high risk for developing breast, colorectal, prostate, gastric, ovarian, endometrial, and pancreatic cancers, as well as melanoma.

Physicians participating in TRAC have their patients complete a family history questionnaire once every twelve months. The results of the questionnaire indicate if a patient is considered to be at an increased risk for hereditary or familial cancers. If an increased risk is revealed, the patient will have a blood draw or saliva test collected and screened for the presence of cancer-causing genes.

“Genetic screening helps guide a patient’s physician team to determine if the patient needs additional testing or surveillance and gives the patient the best information to make an informed decision regarding preventive procedures,” says Caroline Peterson, DO, OB/GYN, director of Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention for Kettering Health Network.

Most genetic testing programs in the United States only test for a small number of genes, but the TRAC program uses Myriad Laboratories My Risk technology to screen for more cancer-causing genes—28 in total—and is even able to test for moderately aggressive genes that were just recently discovered.

“Only a handful of healthcare practices in the country are screening at such a comprehensive level,” says Dr. Peterson. “By analyzing a greater number of genes, up to 104 percent more potentially deleterious genes can be identified.”

Kettering Health Network has a genetics counselor who offers services network-wide to help patients understand their results, risks, and treatment options.

“By implementing a network-wide genetic screening program and establishing a baseline for all patients that will be updated annually, we are able to monitor our patients’ health more closely and ultimately see fewer occurrences, and higher survival rates, for all cancers,” says Dr. Peterson.

To learn more about the TRAC program, ask a Kettering Health Network physician. To find out more about cancer care and treatment at Kettering Health Network, visit ketteringhealth.org/cancercare.

Kettering Health Network is a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare system. The network has eight hospitals: Grandview, Kettering, Sycamore, Southview, Greene Memorial, Fort Hamilton, Kettering Behavioral Health and Soin.

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