Integrating Genetic Counseling Into an Oncology Practice Can Benefit High-Risk Families
Genetic counseling—including testing and risk assessment—is one of the most rapidly growing areas of oncology and has become the standard of care for patients with a personal and family history of breast, ovary, or colon cancer.
Germline genetic testing is also appropriate for some patients with pancreatic, renal, skin, or thyroid cancers, as well as for those with rare cancer syndromes such as retinoblastoma, von Hippel-Lindau disease and multiple endocrine neoplasias (MEN). The criteria for testing have widened over the years to include not only patients with extensive, multigenerational family histories of early-onset cancer, but much broader patient populations. For example, any woman with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer is now a candidate, as is any patient under the age of 60 years with a triple negative breast cancer. These criteria will continue to broaden as the results of genetic testing are used more widely in surgical-, radiation-, and chemotherapy-decision making. As genetic testing grows, it represents a potential opportunity to provide additional services to an oncology practice’s patients.
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