Funds will focus on detecting family risks, along with hiring experienced oncological nurse

By DENNIS J. WRIGHT

PHOENIXVILLE - In their efforts to detect genetic cancer risks in patients, The Cancer Center at the Phoenixville Hospital received a check for $52,000 from the American Cancer Society (ACS) at the Phoenixville Area High School on Aug. 21.

According to Dr. Christopher Holroyde, Medical Director of the center, a Cancer Control Program will be funded through grant money provided by ACS.

Holyroyde said that the efforts of the the Relay For Life Executive Committee and Dr. David Noyes were influencial in receiving the grant money.

"The Relay For Life Executive Committee was anxious to see if the American Cancer Society could support local efforts," said Holyroyde. "Because of our efforts in fundraising, the American Cancer Society agreed to grant us for a Cancer Control Program to be run out of the Cancer Center.

"The grant went through the appropriate channels. We received the first check for $52,000. More money is expected for this program. The Phoenixville Community Health Foundation will be making a contribution, along with Penn, for a total amount of $80,000."

Holyroyde said that the funding will immediately go towards the development of the Cancer Control Program.

"With this money, two things will occur. The first thing is to hire a nurse with oncological training, specifically designated to assist in identifying patients with genetic risks for breast and ovarian cancer," he said. "They will be identified, tested and counseled, along with additional follow-up, as far as therapeutic measures go. Once the program is expanded, we will move towards other cancers such as bowel cancer, and ultimately with more family cancer risk syndromes."

Holyroyde said once the program has been established, the Cancer Center will lend its assistance to ACS.

"Simultaneously, we have committed

with ACS to assist them with their service programs such as Road To Recovery, Issues Related To Transportation, and Look Good Feel Good," he said.

Susan Lorah, clinical nurse manager, said that recruiting is already under way for the experienced nurse.

"We've started applications and recruiting, so the word is out there," said Lorah. "They have to be certified and will receive specialized training. To get a program like this off the ground, we need someone experienced."

Holyroyde said that the nurse will delve into the patient's history, along with their families' history.

"They need to take a patient's personal and family history, along with any risk assessment," he said. "These can be evaluated with known accuracy using blood tests. When all of the information is made available, we will set a course of action, such as risk reduction strategies and which other family members will be informed.

"There are issues of privacy here. We cannot share patient or family history so this needs to be done with the utmost of privacy. You might not be at risk but someone in the family may be."

Holyroyde has already named Dr. Carl Sharer as the physician adviser for the program.

"This will be done with physician input and handled by the Abrahamson Cancer Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, through their Cancer Risk Evaluation Program (CREP)," he said.

Holyroyde and Lorah both expressed that anyone can refer a patient for this program, and can be self-referred.

"They'll be interviewed and if they aren't suitable for screening, they will be informed," said Lorah.

"If they are suitable, we'll set up a second interview," said Holyroyde. "It was Relay For Life that brought us this opportunity and we went ahead to begin this program.

"We appreciate Relay For Life for their fundraising efforts in helping us assess these grants."

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