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Salem Health Cancer Institute adds cancer genetics program

19 Aug 2018

New program keeps patients close to home

By: Josh Franke, MBA, director, oncology service line and Salem Cancer Institute

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I’m excited to announce the addition of genetic counseling and testing to our world-class cancer program offerings. The program has been up and running since July 23. I want to tell you a bit about it and explain the referral process.

In the communities Salem Health serves, the leading cause of death is cancer, with five to ten percent of cancers due to inherited gene mutations. We see roughly 2,000 cancer cases per year. This new cancer genetics program will help inform you, the providers, while you create personalized care plans for your patients.

Genetic testing can detect specific, potentially dangerous, inherited mutations in patients’ chromosomes, genes or proteins. These mutations may increase patients’ risk of developing cancer.

Nancy Ledbetter, a clinical nurse specialist, has joined our team to provide expertise in cancer genetics. Nancy has 18 years of experience and study in cancer genetics, most recently with Providence and her own private practice. She will operate the program independently under the direction of Institute leadership. She also attends our weekly cancer conference where her input has been invaluable regarding genetics questions for prospective patients.

Cancer prevention and screening recommendations can also be informed by genetic risk assessment. If patients’ family histories include cancer, they can be assessed for risk factors that indicate a genetic test may be helpful to understand and mitigate the risks of getting cancer. Even if a gene mutation is found, this does not necessarily mean that the patient will develop cancer.

As cancer genetics programs aren’t normally financially self-sustaining, the pilot program has been initially funded by the Salem Health Foundation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Foundation for this amazing support and investment in the health of our community!

As you know, the Foundation supports a wide range of projects, programs and equipment that are not otherwise included in normal operating budgets.

Referral process

The referral phone number for cancer genetics counseling is 503-814-1365.

Providers who work in Epic can refer through Epic by ordering CON1087 - Referral to Genetic Counseling with an internal option (Hospital Preauth).
epic code cancer genetics
Once you get to the referral screen, under the choice titled “Class,” choose “Hospital Preauth” (vs. External) for the internal referral as seen below, circled in yellow, and fill in the “Referral” section as seen below. 

cancer genetics referral highlighted
Nancy’s visit notes will be in Epic, and we will forward them, along with test results, after patients see her. If providers need to find information in the chart at a later date, especially genetic test results, they will be under the media tab.

Referring providers who do not use Epic should fax this fax referral form to (503) 814-1030.

Please email Nancy Ledbetter or call her at 503-814-3214 if you have further questions about cancer genetics or the referral process.

We truly appreciate the Foundation supporting a wide range of projects and operating budgets!