Genetic counselor to start at Highlands Oncology Group

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 222 views 

Courtney M. Cook, an oncology genetic counselor and genetic services coordinator, will start seeing patients at Highlands Oncology Group, which has locations in Rogers and Fayetteville. Cook is the first oncology-dedicated board certified genetic counselor in Northwest Arkansas, according to a news release.

Along with seeing patients at Highlands Oncology, Cook will also serve as a resource to healthcare providers in the region. “Genetic counselors are trained in medical genetics, counseling and education in order to provide services to high-risk patients and help them understand their inherited cancer risks,” according to the release. “Genetic counselors explain available genetic tests and offer information about cancer screening, prevention and treatment options and provide support.”

The Arkansas Breast Cancer Specialists and The Cancer Challenge of NWA worked to bring Cook to Northwest Arkansas. Arkansas Breast Cancer Specialists is an accredited, multi-disciplinary group of physicians specializing in diagnosing and treating breast cancer. The group of physicians have been working together since 1998. Since 1993, The Cancer Challenge has invested more than $11 million for patient services for cancer survivors in Northwest Arkansas.

Cook previously worked as oncology genetic counselor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she helped to create an oncology dedicated genetic counseling division. Nonprofit organization Oncology Supportive Services supports Cook. The organization helps cancer treatment programs such as the NWA Lung Cancer Screening Program, the Buddy Project and the breast cancer program.

In 2017, 600,920 people are projected to die from cancer and 1.68 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.