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UPMC CancerCenter’s network includes a full range of supportive care services to help patients and their families prepare for and manage treatment, recovery, and beyond, including:
At UPMC CancerCenter, our pathology specialists perform sophisticated molecular tests on every colon cancer surgery done at Hillman Cancer Center. Doctors and genetic counselors also may request this testing on surgeries performed elsewhere.
Pathologists at the center use a sophisticated testing called molecular microsatellite instability (MSI) testing to detect Lynch Syndrome — a form of inherited colorectal cancer. The results of this advanced testing can determine whether the patient needs further management or counseling to investigate a genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer.
Although the vast majority of colorectal cancers are sporadic and have no clear pattern or explanation, approximately one in 10 cancers is due to a single genetic predisposition that has been inherited and can be passed from generation to generation.
Genetic counselors can see patients at every stage of the treatment process:
To determine the risk of susceptibility, genetic counselors — through the Colorectal Cancer Specialty Care Center — meet with the patient to take a full family cancer history. This history may indicate a generational pattern of the same or related cancers in multiple blood relatives, suggesting a genetic predisposition or a familial defect in a gene. If a genetic predisposition is uncovered, genetic counselors can determine the exact cause and help patients inform their family members of their risk.
Genetic counselors, and other health providers in the Colorectal Cancer Specialty Care Center, may also refer patients to behavioral health professionals such as psychologists and nutritionists — who can assist patients in dealing with their cancer diagnosis, treatment, and management going forward, and provide access to support groups and national cancer support organizations.
In addition, interpreters are available to help international patients, as well as others with language barriers, better understand the treatment process.