October 30, 2012
Recognizing that many diseases have a hereditary component, Saint Francis Medical Center has launched a genetic counseling program, expanding resources for clinicians and enhancing care for patients and families. This first-in-region program, which focuses primarily on genetics and cancer, will be led by a board certified genetic counselor.
Genetic counseling enhances clinical practice by providing specialized patient education, care and support. Highly trained genetic counselors partner with physicians to identify individuals and families with a high risk of developing cancer, promote early detection through appropriate screening, explain complex genetic information, coordinate genetic testing and guide patients through the decision-making process.
People who may benefit from genetic counseling include those with a personal or family history of known or suspected cancer susceptibility and those at high risk for genetic disease. The service is also helpful to people with questions about cancer risk in their family and those who have had genetic testing and want a more detailed discussion about test results.
Saint Francis’s genetic counseling program will be led by Melanie Baxter, ScM, CGC. Baxter has served as a clinical cancer genetic counselor and a consultant for a comprehensive genetics and newborn screening program, is active in genetic counseling advocacy, and lectures and presents on the topic. She earned her master’s in genetic counseling from the Johns Hopkins University/National Human Genome Research Institute in Baltimore, Md., and is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
For more information about genetic counseling at Saint Francis, call 573-331-3814.