After a routine mammogram, Mary Garamy got the call no one wants to get. But because she had worked at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, she knew her first step was to meet with a genetic counselor.
“I didn’t realize how important genetic counselors were to your diagnosis and treatment until I got breast cancer,” Garamy says. “I received nothing but compassionate care.”
Her genetic testing results revealed a hereditary mutation that is tied to a number of cancers. This led to an aggressive treatment plan and served as a wake-up call to her family.
“I dragged my whole family in there — I made them all get tested,” Garamy says.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood, Kentucky offers a robust Precision Medicine and Genetics program, equipped with licensed genetic counselors and nurse navigators who guide people through the testing/counseling process.
While genetic counselors at St. Elizabeth assist all patients who have concerns regarding their family histories of disease, cancer is the most common. If genetic testing is recommended to identify possible underlying genetic causes of the family history of the disease, most DNA testing can be completed by providing a blood or saliva specimen.
St. Elizabeth also offers a Cancer Prevention Clinic for patients who have not been diagnosed with cancer but want to be proactive in preventing it once they learn they are at hereditary risk. By attending this clinic, patients can feel confident that their unique health care needs are met throughout their lives, especially as family history and cancer screening guidelines evolve. And they are assured that the right tests are ordered at the right time. The Prevention Clinic also offers patients access to innovative testing, such as multi-cancer early detection screening.
“We’ve seen patients who watched their mom or dad die at a young age, and they think ‘I want to be around to see my grandkids,’” says Jody Wallace, the manager of Precision Medicine at St. Elizabeth.
Fortunately, as genetic testing has become more advanced, it has also become more affordable.
“It’s awesome to think about where we were a decade ago and where we are now,” Wallace says. “It’s only a matter of time before genetic testing becomes more wide-scale.”
Ready to be proactive about your health? Visit stelizabeth.com/DNA or call 859.301.GENE (4363) to learn more.