Holy Cross Cancer Blog

Questions to ask about Genetic Testing

  • Posted May 19, 2015
  • Carol Brudenell

An April 21 article in the New York Times entitled "New Genetic Tests for Breast Cancer Hold Promise" discussed the following: 

"A Silicon Valley start-up with some big-name backers is threatening to upend genetic screening for breast and ovarian cancer by offering a test on a sample of saliva that is so inexpensive that most women could get it. At the same time, the nation’s two largest clinical laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, normally bitter rivals, are joining with French researchers to pool their data to better interpret mutations in the two main breast cancer risk genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Other companies and laboratories are being invited to join the effort, called BRCA Share."

This is a very thought-provoking article and attractive to a population that is interested and concerned about hereditary mutations and cancer risk.  The cost is affordable to many and the company, Color, is working on a financial assistance program for those who cannot pay even the $249.00 cost of testing.  As a cancer risk assessment professional who counsels, evaluates, educates and recommends testing to men and women who have personal/family histories of cancer on a daily basis, these are my concerns and questions I would ask:

  • What is the platform or technology they are using to do the testing at this price? 
  • How deep and wide do they sequence the DNA, do they test for deletions and duplications of the DNA? 
  • Does their testing compare with the major genetic laboratories that have been establish for years and have a known track record?
  • Is this test even necessary?
  • Can I trust an employee of the lab to order the test that is right for me? Isn’t this a conflict of interest?
  • Will there be counseling to help the patient understand the need and advisability of testing and will it be done before or after the testing or both?
  • Who will help the patient interpret the test results?
  • Who will make the recommendations for follow-up?
  • Who will follow the person long term to carry out the recommendations made?
  • Will the recommendations be sound, considering the lack of information we currently possess about some of the more rare mutations? 
  • Will unnecessary procedures/surgeries be done that endanger lives?

Most of these questions were asked in the article but bear serious consideration before embarking on this hereditary journey. There are medical and genetic professionals here in our community who can walk with you in making decisions about genetic testing and guide you to  established and reputable genetic labs in this country who offer genetic testing though your insurance or with financial assistance if your insurance does not cover the testing.


Mother's Day Special: Discounted Mammograms

  • Posted May 05, 2015
  • hchadmin




In honor of mothers everywhere, the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women's Center and the Holy Cross Urgent Care and Imaging Center in Boca Raton have a special offer for women.


Special rates available only to patients without insurance. Same day results available:


Screening Mammogram: $90  |  Bone Density Screening: $150
Rates available in May and June 2015
Download printable flyer.


These special rates are conveniently available at the following locations: 


Holy Cross Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women's Center
1000 NE 56th St., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334 

Holy Cross Urgent Care and Imaging Center - Boca Raton Location
1799 S. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, FL 33432 


To make an appointment at one of the above locations, call 954-202-0277.


Restrictions: Screening Mammogram only (excludes Diagnostic Mammogram). No implants. Available only to patients without health insurance. Includes Radiologist's Reading Fee.


 


I Can Cope Spring Session May 2

  • Posted Apr 28, 2015
  • hchadmin
Those living with cancer, cancer survivors and their caregivers are invited to join us for our Spring 2015 I Can Cope program, a free cancer support seminar presented in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, on Saturday May 2 on the second floor of the Bienes Cancer Center: 
 
8:15 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
Registration & Continental Breakfast
 
8:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Welcome & Opening Prayer
 
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Understanding Cancer Treatment
 
10:30 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. BREAK
 
10:40 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Communicating Concerns and Feelings
 
11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Managing the Side Effects of Illness and Treatment
 
12:00p.m. - 12:30p.m.
Lunch & Survivor Story
 
12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Mobilizing Resources and Support
 
1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Keeping Well In Mind & Body Part I
 
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Keeping Well In Mind & Body Part II
 
3:15p.m. - 3:30p.m.
Evaluations & Celebration
 
Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Flyer attached.
 
Registration required. Please call 954-267-7770.
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Bienes Cancer Center Social Worker Receives National Honor

  • Posted Apr 16, 2015
  • hchadmin

The Michael and Dianne Bienes Cancer Center's Christina Austin-Valere, PhD, LCSW, is one of seven outstanding cancer care providers who received the 2015 American Cancer Society Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award, a prestigious national award for cancer caring. The Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award recognizes individuals who help extend what long-time American Cancer Society Executive Vice President Lane W. Adams referred to as the “warm hand of service.” Based on Adams’ own memories of the comfort and caring given by nurses to those facing serious illness, the award honors professionals whose compassion and dedication go far above and beyond the call of duty. Dr. Austin-Valere was honored for her extraordinary efforts to deeply impact the quality of life of the people she cares for and her focus on treating the “whole person.”

 Photo: From left: Susan D. Henry, LCSW, member of the American Cancer Society Board of Directors and chair of the American Cancer Society Lane W. Adams Award Workgroup; Dr. Christina Austin-Valere, Lane W. Adams Award Recipient; Robert E. Youle, vice chair of the American Cancer Society Board of Directors


Cancer Community invited to "Speak for Yourself"

  • Posted Apr 14, 2015
  • hchadmin

The Wellness Hour: Speak for Yourself
Wednesday, April 15 | 3-5p | Sister Innocent Conference Center, Holy Cross Hospital 

The time to think about important healthcare decisions is before you find yourself in the hospital. Who speaks for you if you’re in the hospital and ill enough that you are unable to speak for yourself? 90% of Americans have heard of a living will, yet only 29% have one. This – along with other important healthcare decisions you may not even be aware of – is the topic of next week’s panel discussion.

This is a 2-part event
From 3-4p: You can get information on home healthcare, community resources, emergency response systems and more from community representatives who will have vendor displays in our conference center Atrium.

Vendors include: Home Health Services, Private Duty Nursing, Guardian Monitoring Services, Hospices, Skilled Nursing Facilities, Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County (SHINE), Meals on Wheels, Light of the World Clinic, Holy Cross Community Outreach Program and more!

From 4-5p: Join our panel of experts (Dr. Coopersmith, spiritual care, social worker, ethicist, etc.) as they discuss important healthcare decisions and answer questions about advance directives. Spanish and Creole speaking panelists will be present.

RSVP for this free event by calling 954-351-5886 or register online by CLICKING HERE to access the registration form. Light refreshments will be served.

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Medical, Local Community Learn About Anal Cancer

  • Posted Apr 07, 2015
  • hchadmin


Holy Cross Hospital hosted a free educational forum on Saturday, March 28 focusing on the importance of anal cancer screening, new treatments for the disease and life after treatment. Close to 50 health care providers in family and internal medicine, gastroenterology, general surgery and colorectal surgery, nurses and the general public attended the event.


According to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the rate of deaths attributed to the disease between 2002 – 2011 rose nearly four percent each year while the rates of new anal cancer cases have also been increasing at the rate of two percent each year over the past decade.


Entitled “Anal Cancer: Today’s Approach, Tomorrow’s Strategies,” the educational forum was be led by: Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center medical oncologist Eunice Kwak, MD; Theodore Hong, MD, director of gastrointestinal service and associate clinical director of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital; Lorraine Drapek, RN, FNP-BC, AOCNP; and via video, Holy Cross Hospital colorectal surgeon, Elie Schochet, MD. Holy Cross Hematologist/Oncologist Z. Ena Segota delivered the opening remarks.


The event was sponsored, in part, by a grant from the Farrah Fawcett Foundation (FFF) to Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The late actress was diagnosed with Anal Cancer in 2006 and started her foundation at that time. She intended on running it, but succumbed to anal cancer in 2009 after a valiant fight against the disease. The FFF mission is to fund innovative research, spread the message of prevention/awareness and to help those struggling with a diagnosis.

Holy Cross Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, the largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, recently entered into a five-year affiliation agreement that expands their collaboration on new ways to provide leading-edge oncology care to their mutual patients.


Pictured: Dr. Hong, Dr. Kwak, Dr. Goyal, Lorraine Drapek, and Dr. Segota.


 

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Holy Cross Hosts Free Educational Forum on Anal Cancer

  • Posted Mar 13, 2015
  • hchadmin

Holy Cross Hospital will host a free educational forum on Saturday, March 28 focusing on the importance of anal cancer screening, new treatments for the disease and life after treatment.


The event has been sponsored, in part, by a grant from the Farrah Fawcett Foundation (FFF) to Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The late actress was diagnosed with Anal Cancer in 2006 and started her foundation at that time. She intended on running it, but succumbed to anal cancer in 2009 after a valiant fight against the disease. The FFF mission is to fund innovative research, spread the message of prevention/awareness and to help those struggling with a diagnosis. www.thefarrahfawcettfoundation.org.


According to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the rate of deaths attributed to the disease between 2002 – 2011 rose nearly four percent each year while the rates of new anal cancer cases have also been increasing at the rate of two percent each year over the past decade.


Entitled “Anal Cancer: Today’s Approach, Tomorrow’s Strategies,” the educational forum will be led by: Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center medical oncologist Eunice Kwak, MD; Theodore Hong, MD, director of gastrointestinal service and associate clinical director of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital; Lorraine Drapek, RN, FNP-BC, AOCNP; and Holy Cross Hospital colorectal surgeon, Elie Schochet, MD.


Health care providers in family and internal medicine, gastroenterology, general surgery and colorectal surgery are encouraged to attend the event which is also open to the general public. Continuing education credits for health care providers are available.


Following registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m., the March 28th forum will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sister Innocent Conference Center on the Holy Cross Campus located at 4725 North Federal Highway.  To RSVP, clinicians may call 954-351-7833 or email Gwenn.Shapiro@holy-cross.com. The general public may RSVP to 954-351-5886.


Holy Cross Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, the largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, recently entered into a five-year affiliation agreement that expands their collaboration on new ways to provide leading-edge oncology care to their mutual patients.  


 

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Cancer Risk Assessment and Prevention

  • Posted Feb 03, 2015
  • hchadmin

Cancer risk assessment, screening and prevention programs are vital to educating people about reducing their chances of developing cancer and assessing the need for intervention. The Michael & Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center offers a Cancer Risk and Prevention Program under the direction of a genetic nurse counselor and the cancer center physicians.


Although the program is for anyone with cancer or a family history of cancer, the vast majority of the participants are women who have or have had breast or ovarian cancer or who are at high risk for developing one of these cancers.


In light of a growing body of research confirming that many common cancers—including breast, ovarian and colorectal cancer—are hereditary, the Clinical Cancer Genetics Cancer Risk and Prevention Program helps people understand their personal cancer risk profiles, offering a comprehensive cancer risk assessment that takes into account family history and genetics, along with environmental and lifestyle factors.


With this information, people can take proactive steps to prevent or beat cancer. The genetic test for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) consists of an analysis of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes by sequencing and large rearrangement. If you meet the criteria for having a mutation, most insurance providers will cover the cost. Knowledge of a mutation in the BRCA genes enables one to be proactive in prevention of cancer, treatment choices and identifying family members who may be at risk (or not) of having a mutation. To learn more, please call 954-267-7704.

Carol Brudenell, MSN, RN, AOCN
Genetic Nurse Counselor

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Below is a commentary from Maureen G. Mann, MS, MBA, FACHE, Executive Director of the Michael and Dianne Bienes Cancer Center at Holy Cross Hospital, urging lawmakers to oppose House Bill 169. 

"...I am a very involved volunteer with the American Cancer Society...so this particular bill causes me great concern. Please see the notes below and VOTE NO when this bill comes to the floor...


Oppose House Bill 169
Nicotine Products & Nicotine Dispensing Device

Background
Originally, the intent of HB 169 was to prohibit the sale of nicotine products and nicotine dispensing devices (e-cigarettes) to minors. However, added amendment language would strip local governments of their ability to regulate all tobacco products and e-cigarettes, overturn existing ordinances, and block future opportunities to protect kids in the retail environment. For example, many of the product placement ordinances we currently have in Florida go beyond the minimum standards set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), requiring that ALL tobacco products are placed behind the counter at retail stores, not just cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. With the preemption language, the bill now does more harm than good in the fight to keep Florida’s children tobacco free.


Key Points
Many of the ordinances we currently have in Florida deal with product placement, requiring that all tobacco, not just cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, are placed behind the counter at retail stores. They are stronger than the minimum standards required by the FDA and are all meant to keep tobacco
products out of the hands of children.

In-store tobacco displays serve to increase product availability, visibility and brand awareness and stimulate trial and purchase of products.1 Product placement laws limit youth access to tobacco via illegal sales and shoplifting.
Proponents for preemption claim that we need a uniform state law that covers all businesses rather than a patchwork of local ordinances. The fact is retailers are used to complying with a variety of local laws, including zoning, traffic restrictions, health regulations and even alcohol sales. Tobacco regulations
are no different than other regulations that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.        
Local governments are more flexible and responsive than state government in effectively dealing with emerging problems and finding innovative solutions. Local governments are closer to the community and have been more effective than the state or federal government in addressing the problem of
tobacco use.

My Position
State laws should serve as a minimum standard for a policy objective while allowing communities to enact stronger ordinances to protect their youth and residents in the most appropriate manner. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and our partners ask that you oppose HB 169 and prevent the dismantlement of effective local tobacco ordinances around the state."


 


About the Center

The Michael & Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is the Cancer Care Leader in Broward County. Dedicated to providing patients with precise diagnosis, the latest and most advanced treatment and aftercare options, we offer a multidisciplinary approach to care, a compassionate and spiritual healing environment, and an affiliation with the National Cancer Institute. We are also working together with Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center to provide South Florida residents with rapid access to specialized cancer care and genetics counseling.

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