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Genetic testing shortfall seen in women with history, risk of breast, ovarian cancer

OCTOBER 24, 2017
Clinical Congress Daily Highlights, Tuesday Second Edition

More than 80 percent of breast and ovarian cancer patients at high risk for inherited disease have not undergone genetic testing, survey results suggest. Genetic testing can be a valuable tool for treatment and for prevention of disease in family members – up to 15 percent of the 3 million American women with a history of breast or ovarian cancer have cases attributable to heritable mutations.

Christopher Childers, MD, and colleagues at University of California, Los Angeles, conducted the study using data from the National Health Interview Survey. The researchers pooled three years (2005, 2010, 2015) of cross-sectional data to calculate the proportion of women with a history of breast or ovarian cancer who had discussed testing with a provider, been advised to undergo testing, or had testing done.

The data revealed a testing rate of 10.5 percent among women with a history of ovarian cancer, and 15.7 percent among women with a history of breast cancer and at least one high-risk factor (such as being diagnosed before age 45 or having a relative diagnosed before age 50). About one in four women with either cancer and at least one risk factor had discussed testing with a healthcare provider. Based on those results, the researchers estimate the unmet need for testing at between 1,078,746 and 1,293,914 individuals in the U.S.

Additional Information:

This Scientific Forum study was presented October 24 at the 2017 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in San Diego, CA.  Program, webcast and audio information is available online at FACS.org/clincon2017.

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