Cancer genomics specialists for children
The SPoT Clinic team includes Caitlin Schwager, pediatric oncology genetic counselor; Kevin Ginn, Director of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program and Interim Director of the Experimental Therapeutics in Pediatric Oncology Program; and Erin Guest, Director of the Cancer Genomics Program and the Cancer Center Biorepository.
Providers from Psychology and Social Work also support the team to help address the unique needs of families with a predisposition to cancer. The clinic is held eight times a year, following approximately 30 to 40 children per year.
The SPoT Clinic acts as a safety net for high-risk children and their families. By increasing the frequency of check-ins, the clinic helps improve the quality of life for families that are impacted by hereditary cancer syndromes.
What are hereditary cancer syndromes?
A hereditary cancer syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes a higher-than-normal risk for specific types of cancer. Mutations in certain cancer-causing genes can increase the risk of cancer in children. Genetic counseling is especially beneficial for children with a strong family history of cancer or a cancer type that is associated with a known cancer syndrome.
A genetic counselor uses a detailed, multi-generational family history along with a risk assessment to help families understand the benefits, limitations and implications of genetic testing. If testing does indicate a hereditary cancer syndrome, additional relatives, such as parents, siblings and extended family members, can also be tested for the condition.
The SPoT Clinic is one way that Children’s Mercy helps children and families impacted by hereditary cancer syndromes to monitor for the specific concerns that affect them.
Learn more about genetic testing at Children’s Mercy