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UPMC program provides window into family health

WILLIAMPSORT — Beginning in May, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Williamsport, partnering with the Cancer Genetics team at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, Pittsburgh, will offer virtual risk assessments, genetic counseling, education, and genetic testing to patients with a referral based on personal and family histories of cancer.

The program connects patients directly to UPMC specialists in Pittsburgh, providing unique access to expert specialty care while avoiding long-distance travel and related time and expenses.

“The driving force for the telegenetics program is to provide people in our region access to expertly-trained genetics professionals without having to leave town,” says Michelle Gaida, executive director, Cancer Services, UPMC Hillman Cancer Centers in Williamsport and Wellsboro. “Genetic risk assessment, counseling, and testing gives us a glance into the future by identifying those most at risk for cancer and educating them on what the increased risk means for them. It’s also important because determining whether the cancer in someone’s family is hereditary helps develop the most appropriate ongoing care plan for prevention and detection.”

Certain factors determine if a person is an appropriate candidate for the program. Someone who has had multiple cancers, a very rare cancer, developed cancer at a young age, or who has a strong family history would likely be considered.

Anyone can be referred to the UPMC Cancer Genetics Telemedicine Program. Appointments are available the first Tuesday of the month at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Williamsport.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 1-800-454-8156.

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