Ellen T. Matloff, MS, CGC
Oncology practitioners now have several resources to consult for advice on genetic testing for their patients following the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) December 2013 update of its 2005 BRCA recommendations, plus new recommendations from the American Socieity of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announced in February and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology
ASCO’s recommendations for hereditary risk assessment are the first to focus on family history–taking specifically in oncology to help determine patients’ personal genetic risk for cancer, the organization notes. The statement, developed by ASCO’s Genetics Subcommittee, is aimed at helping oncology providers to6
Define a minimum cancer family history
Provide guidance regarding interpretation and next steps
Identify current barriers to accurate family history–taking and interpretation
For patients with cancer, ASCO recommends determining, at a minimum, whether there is any history of cancer in first- and second- degree relatives. First-degree relatives include parents, children, and full siblings. Second-degree relatives include grandparents, aunts/ uncles, nieces/nephews, grandchildren, and half-siblings. For each relative with cancer, ASCO recommends recording age at diagnosis and type of primary cancer(s).
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