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The Queen's Genetics Center offers prenatal screenings as well as adult genetic screenings. The Center recently moved to the basement of the Physicians Office Building II, suite B8.

The staff of the Queen's Genetics Center includes genetic counselors Linda Chang, Cheryl Cina and Susan Seto-Donlon. They seek to educate public on the benefits of genetic counseling physicians regarding the specifics of when to seek genetic counseling for a patient.

Although pre-natal counseling as it has been in practice for over 30 years, Chang comments that it is still considered a new field, and will continue to develop as gene research continues. "When I see a patient with a condition I am familiar with," says Chang, "I always check for new information--things are changing that rapidly."

Adult genetic screenings currently focus on cancer and cardiac cases because those conditions have options for prevention or treatment. The focus will expand as new therapies are developed. *Physicians should make a referral if there is the slightest inkling [or genetic predisposition] to a disease, or even if a patient is anxious," says Donlon. "I've had patients who felt hopeless because they were surrounded by cancer, and that it was inevitable that they would get it too." By examining family history, it sometimes becomes clear that close relatives with cancer are not in a patient*s bloodline, and that risk is relatively low.

A family history, or pedigree, is the starting block for genetic screening, which often arms patients with the ability to take preventive action. "You can't change your genes," says Donlon, "but you can alter your environment, make lifestyle changes or monitor with various screenings to optimize and improve your health care." Queen's genetics counselors feel there is always some benefit to a risk assessment. At the very least, the patient leaves knowing more about cancer or cardiac care than they did before.

The Queen's Genetics Center is part of the Hawai’i Community Genetics Program and hosts a Stanford Clinic conducted by geneticists from Stanford University Medical Center one week each month. Call the Queen's Genetics Center at 537-7633 for more information. The Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

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