WICHITA –Wesley Healthcare has hired board-certified oncology genetic counselor, Carla Bell to establish its oncology genetic counseling program through remote consults and in-person appointments.
The highly specialized field of genetic counseling assesses the risk of a genetic disorder through research and examination. The program is designed to help patients referred by a physician understand their risks for different types of cancers and help families plan for the future.
“Genetics can be pretty complicated,” Bell said. “I’ll help explain a genetic diagnosis in regular English, break it down and give families what they need.”
The service also helps Wesley in its goal of becoming accredited by the Commission on Cancer, which is a testament to Wesley’s patient-centered model and commitment to the quality of care and outcomes for its cancer patients.
“Accreditation is only one factor of why we brought this service to Wesley,” said Cheryl Bolton, oncology director for Wesley Healthcare. “The physicians have asked for it and we’re always looking at how we can improve care for our patients and make sure they’re getting the right treatment.”
Bell, who currently lives in Arkansas, will visit the Wesley campus in person multiple times a year while also conducting video and telephone consults several times a week. Prior to hiring Bell, genetics counseling services in the oncology department were occasionally provided by Shobana Kubendran, a board-certified counselor who specializes in pediatrics and prenatal genetic counseling for Wesley, and, often, conducted by the physician.
“The science of genetics changes quickly,” Bell said. “It’s difficult to keep up with it all. Doctors don’t often have the time to really get to know people and understand what it is they’re worried about. I’m here to make that personal – and scientific – connection.”
Bell graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with a master’s in genetic counseling. She’s certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and most recently worked as a genetic counselor at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.
Wesley has been expanding its oncology services the past few years and announced last year the purchase of the newest and most advanced stereotactic cancer treatment technology – The Varian Edge™ Radiosurgery System.
The $4.4M Edge system offers patients a fast, effective option for treating tumors found in the lung, prostate, brain and spine using a real-time tracking system so clinicians can detect slight tumor movement, thus minimizing the radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissue. Radiosurgery is one of several potential options for treating cancer.
For more information about Wesley Healthcare and its oncology services, please visit www.wesleymc.com/cancercare.
Wesley Healthcare is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national surveys, Wesley Medical Center treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER, Wesley Woodlawn ER, the region’s only pediatric ER and soon, Wesley Derby ER. Wesley owns and operates Wesley Medical Center, Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER, multiple WesleyCare clinics and is currently building the region’s only dedicated children’s hospital – Wesley Children’s Hospital. To learn more about Wesley Healthcare, please visit www.wesleymc.com.