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Yuma Regional Medical Center

 

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Yuma Regional Medical Center Cancer Center
Yuma, Arizona

Implementing Genetic Cancer Screening and Testing in a Medically-Underserved Community

Erica Martinez, RN, CHPN, OCN, Oncology Nurse Navigator, Yuma Regional Medical Center Cancer Center at Yuma Regional Medical Center

Located in a medically underserved area, Yuma Regional Medical Center Cancer Center joined forces with Myriad Genetics—a molecular diagnostic testing company—to offer genetic testing to appropriate patients who were flagged in the registration intake process prior to their first visit. After completing a hereditary cancer quiz, potential candidates are referred to a genetic counselor, who provides tele-education and conducts testing, if warranted. Within the first four months, there was a four-fold increase in genetic testing of cancer patients, affecting the clinical management of 20 percent of those cases.

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Bringing Genetic Testing Closer to Home

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It has historically been difficult to obtain genetic cancer counseling and testing services in Yuma, Arizona. There are no genetic counselors in this geographically expansive, medically underserved city of 200,000. If patients did want to receive genetic counseling services, they often had to travel more than 180 miles to do so.

“Referring patients to genetic testing has entailed significant financial costs and transportation hurdles for patients,” says Erica Martinez, RN, CHPN, OCN, an oncology nurse navigator at 2019 ACCC Award recipient Yuma Regional Medical Center Cancer Center. “Many of our patients are elderly, Spanish-speaking, or struggle with illiteracy, and they have limited financial resources. So navigating travel to a facility out of town to talk to a genetic counselor creates several barriers to care.”
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