Did you know Saskatchewan’s team of seven genetic counsellors work alongside medical geneticists to help provide the best care and support to patients and their families affected by genetic conditions? Each genetic counsellor specializes in at least one specific area of genetics including hereditary cancer, prenatal, adult-onset neurological conditions, pediatric syndromes, cardiogenetics, metabolic conditions and laboratory genetics.
A genetic counsellor’s job is to work with patients and their families to ensure they understand the complex genetics information they are receiving and support them in making informed medical and personal decisions about their potential diagnosis or condition. Patients are referred to the care of a genetic counsellor when they have been given a diagnosis of a genetic condition or if genetic testing could help clarify their diagnosis.
“A genetic test for hereditary cancer has the potential to direct many aspects of care for the cancer patient and their family,” says Andrea Hawrysh, genetic counsellor for hereditary cancer. “A conversation with a genetic counsellor can help everyone understand the family history and empower planning for the future.”
The SHA’s seven genetic counsellors (From left): Tara Scriver, Janet Lucas, Andrea Hawrysh, Lacey Benoit, Candice Jackel-Cram, Rachel Vanneste. Missing: Melanie Paterson.