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Genetic Testing: Changing the Cancer Care Journey. Dr. Robert Reid, MD - Virginia Cancer Specialists

Virginia Cancer Specialists Practice Blog

September 16, 2019
Virginia Cancer Specialists » VCS Practice News » Blog Post » Genetic Testing: Changing the Cancer Care Journey. Dr. Robert Reid, MD – Virginia Cancer Specialists

Genetic risk assessment can help you or your family members determine the risk for specific inherited cancers.  At Virginia Cancer Specialists (VCS), we’re proud to provide genetic testing, a service that is changing the cancer care world as we know it.

Am I a good candidate for genetic testing?

Patients with known risk factors or those wanting to know more about their genetic predisposition to certain cancers are ideal candidates. Patients will undergo an initial assessment, during which the following common risk factors may be considered.

Does the patient have:

  • Family member(s) with multiple primary cancers
  • Several relatives on one side of the family who have had the same type of cancer
  • Several cancers in the family linked to a single gene mutation (such as breast and ovarian cancers or breast and colon cancers)
  • Family or personal history of early onset cancer (usually before age 50)
  • Relatives with a rare cancer, such as breast cancer in a male or retinoblastoma
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with breast or ovarian cancer at any age
  • A physical finding that is linked to an inherited cancer, such as colon polyps
  • Family members with a known genetic mutation

If the risk factors are found to be significant, genetic testing will be recommended.

Why do I want to know?

While genetic testing is often linked to hereditary breast cancers, doctors are continuously discovering additional mutations linked to other hereditary cancers. Doctors are now able to test for 20+ multi-gene panels.  These panels include several genes, as indicated below.

If you receive genetic testing and a genetic mutation is found, there are several actions to take to decrease or manage your risk factors. VCS will work with you to address your risk from a holistic standpoint so you won’t have to bounce from clinic to clinic to address your needs.

Patients are followed closely to manage this risk.  VCS works with patients to identify the most effective and viable prevention activities.  A surgical procedure may be recommended for higher-risk patients, but there are alternatives to surgery. If appropriate, patients may be able to take certain medicines to lower risk and be screened with more sensitive imaging systems to catch potential cancers earlier.

If you do develop cancer, those with specific gene mutations or syndromes often are able to use a targeted therapy, which is advanced treatment specifically designed for your type of cancer.

We make it easy. 

Virginia Cancer Specialists offers a telegenetics program for those who don’t live close to an office that offers in-person counseling. Patients can visit their closest VCS location to work with a genetic specialist. They will receive an initial assessment through a simple and secure video chat using HIPAA-compliant technology in one of our satellite offices. This assessment helps our genetics team to determine whether testing is right for our patients.  If certain risk factors are discovered and the patient is a good candidate, genetic testing may be recommended and the patient will be sent for blood tests while on site for the initial consultation.

VCS provides comprehensive care to make your testing as easy and straightforward as possible.

A referral is not needed to receive genetic testing. If you have questions about paying for genetic testing or require assistance, please call us and ask to speak with to our financial counselors.  We are committed to providing quality patient care.  If you’re interested in learning more about whether genetic testing is right for you, please call (703) 208-3155. Or visit here.

Learn more about Genetic Risk Assessment here.

Dr. Reid received his doctorate of medicine from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and went on to complete an internal medicine residency at the University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics. His medical oncology fellowship was completed at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, where he performed basic research into the molecular biology and pathogenesis of cancer. His hematology fellowship was completed at Washington Cancer Institute, Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Physicians.

Prior to VCS, Dr. Reid served as a medical officer in the oncology division, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and as the acting deputy director, Division of Monoclonal Antibodies, Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Reid is an active participant in the US Oncology Research program at Virginia Cancer Specialists. He serves on several medical staff committees at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, and previously served as medical staff president at INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital and was a member of the INOVA Health Care Services Board of Trustees. Outside of medicine, Dr. Reid and his wife, Patti, are raising three teenagers who are each busy with music studies. Dr. Reid enjoys playing tennis. He is an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 51 in Herndon, VA.

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