Genetic testing can help pediatric cancer patients, family members
“Why does my child have cancer?”
It’s a question many parents ask when their child receives a cancer diagnosis.
Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis use genetic testing to get answers and improve treatment.
Pediatric Cancer Genetic Counselor Gina Nuccio works with patients to learn about their family history and if they’ll benefit from genetic testing.
“It's very important. We think that about 5-10% of cancer is due to hereditary factors which means that a person is born with an increased risk or predisposition to cancer,” said Nuccio.
Nuccio says screening kids and their families for cancer risks can lead to better ways to treat them.
Sometimes she has to tell the families who come to the hospital that they have a genetic predisposition to cancer.
Nuccio remembers a conversation she had with a mom who told her she knew it was more than a coincidence that so many people in their family had cancer. “After the testing, she said now we have proof. We have something on paper that says that we have this predisposition syndrome and now other people in our family are able to be tested and learn their risks,” said Nuccio.
The testing can cost thousands of dollars but because families never get a bill at St. Jude, Nuccio can offer any kind of testing regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
"I can't tell you how freeing that is, not just to me as a counselor, but to the families that they're getting the highest quality care and access to the highest quality testing without having to worry about where the money is going to come from and if it's going to be covered by insurance,” said Nuccio.
Nuccio grew up in Memphis and says she always knew about the lifesaving work being done in the hospital, however, it wasn’t until she started working there that she realized what a major impact St. Jude has on the patient’s entire family.
“That's when it really hit home all of the things that St. Jude does for the families. Not just the care and genetic testing but housing, food, support for the healthy sibling and support for the parents. It's a pretty special place,” said Nuccio.
A small donation goes a long way in helping the patients at St. Jude.
The 2018 St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway has begun. Each ticket costs $100 and a limited number of tickets are available. Last year’s Dream Home sold out nearly six weeks early.
This year’s home is located in the beautiful Barrington Pointe Subdivision. At more than 4,500 square feet, the home boasts four-bedroom, three baths, and two half-baths. The home will be an energy-efficient smart home with a walk-out basement. The home and other prizes will be given away on Sunday, June 24 during a special broadcast on Channel 3.
- Barrington Pointe subdivision
- 13188 Blakeslee Drive
- Soddy Daisy, TN 37379
The St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway is one of the largest single-event fundraisers for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. It generates more than $290 million for the research and treatment of childhood cancer.
The proceeds from fundraisers like the Dream Home allow families to focus on their child’s treatment without having to worry about expenses. Families who receive care at St. Jude never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child recover.
Local supporters of the 2018 Dream Home include WRCB Channel 3, G.T. Issa Construction, WUSY US-101, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Ashley HomeStore, and Geoff Ramsey/REMAX Properties. Barn Nursery, Paran Homes, and national sponsors Brizo, Shaw Floors, Trane and Bosch.
For more information about the giveaway, visit the Chattanooga Dream Home website.