Many high-risk patients with breast cancer aren’t getting genetic testing. Here’s why.

February 7, 2017

Many high-risk patients with breast cancer aren’t getting genetic testing. Here’s why.

The Washington Post

Doctors often fail to recommend genetic testing for breast-cancer patients, even those who are at high risk for mutations linked to ovarian and other cancers, according to a recent study.

Researchers said the findings are troubling because genetic tests can help guide women's choice of treatments for existing disease, as well as point to ways to reduce the risk of future cancer. Women who have a dangerous mutation might choose to have more stringent screening or opt to have surgery before a cancer develops, they said.

The study also found that many women who would benefit from genetic counseling do not receive it.

“Genetic testing can be a powerful tool for certain women,” said study author Reshma Jagsi, a radiation oncologist at the University of Michigan Health System. “It is worrisome to see so many of these women at highest risk for mutations failing even to have a visit focused on genetic counseling.”

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