High-risk cancer program established at Lakeland

ST. JOSEPH – A new high-risk cancer program is now available at Spectrum Health Lakeland to care for community members with increased risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Located within the Center for Outpatient Services, at 3900 Hollywood Road in St. Joseph, the program will work closely with patients to help them understand genetic risks, learn strategies for cancer prevention and diagnose cancer at an earlier stage when in it most treatable, Spectrum representatives said. Services will initially support patients at high risk for developing breast cancer with a plan to expand to other types of cancer soon.

“Each year, we diagnose approximately 150 patients with breast cancer at Lakeland, and we know there are more than 5,200 patients within our community that are considered high risk,” said Barbara Schmidtman, director of oncology services. “This program will allow us to more closely follow those at increased risk to ensure they are undergoing the appropriate screenings and receiving timely care–ultimately saving more lives.”

In order to qualify for the program, patients must fit at least one of the following criteria:

  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
  • Family history of ovarian cancer or male breast cancer
  • Family history of breast cancer diagnosed at or before 50 years of age
  • History of atypical breast biopsies
  • Known gene mutation in the family associated with increased cancer risks
  • Multiple close relatives with a history of breast cancer
  • Previous chest wall radiation

For more information, call (269) 932-9337 or email highriskcancerclinic@lakelandhealth.org.