Cancer Genetic Counseling at Sparrow
As a part of our mission to provide individualized cancer care to our Patients, Sparrow has the only full-time, clinical cancer genetic counselor in Mid-Michigan. Genetic counseling and testing is a major innovation in the field of cancer awareness, care, and treatment. Through a series of consultations, and possibly a simple blood or saliva sample, our team can evaluate if there are genetic markers in your DNA that may play a role in your risk for developing cancer or how your specific cancer should be treated. This information helps our genetic counselor work with our Physicians to develop a cancer treatment or screening plan that is 100% custom to you.
Meet Corrie Bourdon, the genetic counselor at Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center, and learn about the work that she does.
“My big job is to meet with families, to go over a full family history to talk about the risk factors for cancer,” Bourdon says. “We know every family is different. Everyone’s genetics are different. Everyone’s risk factors are different. So people see me cause they’re worried there could be something in the family. They’re concerned for their kids and their grandkids.”
Bourdon says the information uncovered in genetic counseling can be vital for Physicians.
“if we know someone has hereditary cancer, we know those cancers behave differently than if it’s just a random or sporadic cancer,” she says. “So in terms of clinical trials and the Mayo clinic connection and their expertise, it’s really helpful to know a person’s genetics in order to give them a new treatment options that we wouldn’t have even available to them had we not known about what’s in their family.”
Bourdon says Sparrow’s partnership with Mayo Clinic brings some significant benefits.
“We can take our complicated patient cases, get on Skype with Mayo, send them our tumors to test, and get the experts on the phone,” she said. “It gives our patients an extra level of confidence that they are getting the best care and the best data.”
Bourdon says there are exciting advancements happening in the field of genetic counseling.
“What’s really exciting and why I love being a cancer genetic counselor is that we now are coming to the place where we understand cancer better,” she says. “We understand that all cancer has a genetic origin. Cancer is the cause of gene problems. And people who are born with a genetic problem have a higher risk to get cancer, but their cancer’s going to behave differently because it’s hereditary cancer, it’s not random cancer. Now we are getting smarter to specifically design treatments for those cancers that we never knew about before.”