The Healthy Oregon Project’s “HOP Spot” has moved from the Sunset Pool lobby after three months of dispensing DNA collection kits to determine inherited cancer risk of those who choose to participate.
The program, which launched statewide at the start of the year and in Clatsop County in July, is now heading to Bend, Portland and statewide. The goal of the Healthy Oregon Project is to learn how a person’s genetics, environment and behavior can affect their risk for long-term diseases and conditions, including cancer.
Voluntary participants create a secure account, receive a kit and donate a saliva sample. Swish with mouthwash for 60 seconds, spit into a tube, and return the specimen to a diagnostic lab — locally at the main lobby at Providence Seaside Hospital or Columbia Memorial Hospital for recording and analysis.
Results take about four months. Negative results will be posted in the “results” tab within the Healthy Oregon Project mobile application. If you have a positive result, you will be contacted by an OHSU genetic counselor by phone or email.
Healthy Oregon’s Rachel Crist, volunteer coordinator for the project, came to Seaside Nov. 6 with an update. “Our driving project is inherited cancer,” she told members of the Seaside Chamber of Commerce at the Bob Chisholm Center. “We really want to see what we can learn through a large-scale project throughout the state.”
More than 95% of participants are negative for inherited cancers, she said. When inherited cancers are detected in a sample, participants are contacted by a genetic counselor. Individuals at increased risk can take action to prevent cancer at its earliest stages, when it is most curable.
So far, the program has had almost 3,500 participants, with a goal of 100,000 statewide.