KGUN 9NewsLocal News


Tucson Medical Center to help patients understand their risk for hereditary cancer

Tucson Medical Center
Posted at 5:21 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 20:21:20-04

Tucson Medical Center cares for more than 5,000 cancer patients each year.

"It doesn't affect just them, it affects the whole family. There are many, many aspects to it," said Tucson Medical Center Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Karen Narum.

Narum has seen cancer change the lives of countless people and now advocates for her patients to understand their own risk.

"I usually have my patients prep by doing a deep dive and asking their parents, and family, about their medical history," said Narum.

Discussing a patient's family history of cancer is often the first step in genetic counseling. TMC has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to offer the service virtually.

"The counseling, on the front side, looks at family and personal history, but it also goes into great detail about the pros and cons of having testing done," said said Narum.

The genetic counseling program was funded by a $1.5 Million grant to the TMC Foundation. The money will provide financial help to patients who may not otherwise be able to afford it.

"We're having more insurance companies get on board, but ironically, some will not pay for testing unless they've had counseling done and the counseling isn't always covered," said Narum. "That's why this is a fantastic opportunity to patients."

TMC believes the service will give patients the power to make well-informed decisions for their health and future.

"It's a really scary time for patients and our work is to innovate and collaborate to serve patients in the best way we can," said Tucson Medical Center CEO, Mimi Coomler.

Megan Meier is a reporter for KGUN 9. Megan graduated from Arizona State Universityʼs Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications in May 2018. While pursuing her degree in broadcast journalism, Megan interned at the City of Phoenix. Share your story ideas and important issues with Megan by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.