Georgia Cancer Genetics Network focuses on hereditary cancer

Georgia CORE hosted the first annual meeting of the Georgia Cancer Genetics Network (GCGN) on Sept. 14. The newly-formed organization can be described as “Georgia health care professionals working together to increase the awareness of how to prevent and reduce the incidence of hereditary cancer,” according to Kimberly M. Lewis, MS, Genetic Services Coordinator for Georgia CORE.

More than twenty-five certified genetic counselors and advance practice oncology nurses attended the meeting, along with other health professionals interested in cancer genetics from around the state. The first meeting was focused on the creation of a cancer genetics referral network that will be publicly available through GeorgiaCancerInfo.org. “This referral system will not only serve to help health care professionals properly refer their patients for genetic counseling, but it will help us identify areas in the state in which access to cancer genetics services are lacking,” said Georgia CORE president and CEO Nancy Paris.

Other topics of the GCGN meeting included the creation of a statewide database to evaluate the quality of cancer genetic referrals, as well as a Breast Cancer Genetics Referral Screening Tool (B-RST) to be used to help physicians identify at-risk patients and refer them to cancer genetic counseling. Attendees discussed diagnostic testing for breast, colon and other hereditary cancer syndromes being offered by Ambry Genetics using next-gen sequencing technology. There was an update given by the Georgia Breast Cancer Genomics Education, Surveillance, and Policy Consortium. The group also discussed Care1Source financial assistance for underinsured patients to help pay for cancer genetic testing and genetic counseling state licensure.

The next meeting will be scheduled for Spring 2013. Please contact Kimberly Lewis at klewis@georgiacore.org or by phone at 404-588-1178 if you are interested in the GCGN activities.