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Breast Cancer and Genetic Testing Featured on New Recovery Room

Host Dr. Rick Greene interviews three experts about the current management of breast cancer in the era of genetic testing and prophylactic mastectomy


CHICAGO (October 2, 2013): The Recovery Room Show, produced by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), has released a new episode for Breast Cancer Awareness Month that examines issues of great interest to the breast cancer care community: genetics and breast cancer. This podcast episode for October features a panel of experts who discuss genetic testing and the questions surrounding it, including which patients are the best candidates for genetic counseling and testing.

Joining host Dr. Rick Greene are David R. Byrd, MD; Rebecca Nagy, MS, CGC; and Lance Stell, PhD. Dr. Byrd is a professor of surgery, section chief of surgical oncology at the University of Washington, Seattle. Ms. Nagy is the current president of the National Society for Genetic Counselors, and Dr. Stell is the Samuel E. and Mary West Thatcher Professor of Philosophy and director of medical humanities at Davidson College, Davidson, NC.

The episode is available for download online.

During the discussion, Dr. Greene asks panelists about key issues such as having a lumpectomy versus mastectomy, the role of informed consent in breast cancer treatment and genetic testing, and the ethics of such decisions.

In response to the question of whether women should undergo genetic counseling, Ms. Nagy explains, “Even if they don’t have a family history, if a woman is under 45 at diagnosis, that’s a red flag…we also look at women who have triple negative breast cancer…that’s a trigger for us as well.”

The panelists note that genetic testing is not appropriate for all breast cancer patients.  Dr. Byrd speaks specifically to the differences between counseling and testing and the importance of having a clear distinction between the two options. “Genetic counseling versus genetic testing are two important but different terms,” he explains.

The Recovery Room Show host Frederick (Rick) Greene, MD, FACS, is a surgical oncologist and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) who has been involved in organizational work focused on cancer for many years.  The show is produced by Tena Simmons in a public radio-compatible format.  Current and past episodes can be downloaded at no charge through the College’s website.  Next month’s topic: the ACS NSQIP® Surgical Risk Calculator. Support for all 2013 episodes was provided by ACS.

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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit


Dan Hamilton
Sally Garneski