Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment and Genetic Testing in the Community-Practice Setting

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the feasibility and results of incorporating routine hereditary cancer risk assessment, counseling, and follow-up genetic testing in the community obstetrics and gynecology practice setting without referral to a genetic counselor.

METHODS:

This prospective process intervention study was conducted with two obstetrics and gynecology practice groups (five sites). The intervention included baseline process assessment, refinement of clinic-specific patient screening workflows and tools, and training in hereditary cancer risk screening and follow-up. Outcomes related to hereditary cancer assessment and testing were measured during an 8-week postintervention period. Patients and health care providers were surveyed about satisfaction with the process. Data also were collected during the 8 weeks before the intervention to assess the effects of screening process improvements.

RESULTS:

A total of 4,107 patients were seen during the postintervention period, and 92.8% (3,811) were assessed for hereditary cancer risk. Among those assessed, 906 of 3,811 (23.8%) women met National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for genetic testing, and 813 of 906 (89.7%) eligible patients were offered genetic testing. A total of 165 of 4,107 (4.0%) women completed genetic testing and received a final test result. This represents a fourfold increase over genetic testing immediately before the intervention (1.1%) and an eightfold increase over the previous year (0.5%). Testing identified pathogenic variants in 9 of 165 (5.5%) tested women. All health care providers (15/15) reported that they will continue to use the established hereditary cancer risk assessment process. In addition, 98.8% (167/169) of patients who submitted a sample for genetic testing and completed a patient satisfaction survey stated that they were able to understand the information provided, and 97.6% (165/169) expressed satisfaction with the overall process.

CONCLUSION:

It is feasible to incorporate hereditary cancer risk assessment, education, and testing into community obstetrics and gynecology practices. As a result, multigene panel testing identified significant cancer risks that otherwise would not have been recognized.

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