Most Women with History of Ovarian or Breast Cancer Are Not Receiving Recommended Genetic Tests, Study Finds

Most Women with History of Ovarian or Breast Cancer Are Not Receiving Recommended Genetic Tests, Study Finds
Genetic screening to detect mutations that can predispose women to the development of breast or ovarian cancer has available since the mid-1990s. However, more than 80 percent of women at risk for these malignancies have not taken the test or discussed it with their physician or healthcare provider, a new study says. The study “National Estimates of Genetic Testing in Women With a History of Breast or Ovarian Cancer” was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In the United States, about 15 percent of ovarian and breast cancers cases are caused by heritable genetic mutations, including those affecting the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Because these patients are at risk of developing a second cancer, and their relatives also might have higher chances of getting cancer if they share the same mutations, it is important that they undergo genetic testing. Early identification of these risk factors is critical for treatment decisions and preventive care. “Many of these women have inherited genetic changes that put them and their family members at risk for future cancers,” Christopher Childers, MD, first author of the study, said in a press release. Childers is resident physician in the department of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UC
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