According to a recent article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JOC), research demonstrates an unmet need for genetic testing in women with a history of breast and ovarian cancer. The conclusion of the article “National Estimates of Genetic Testing in Women With a History of Breast or Ovarian Cancer” states, “Fewer than one in five individuals with a history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer meeting specific National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) criteria have undergone genetic testing. Most have never discussed testing with a health care provider. Large national efforts are warranted to address this unmet need.”
This news comes as no surprise to Intermountain Precision Genomics Scientist, Amber Guidry, Ph.D. Guidry has been working on validations for clinical genomics tests that will detect the presence of mutations in genes that are passed on from one generation to the next. Guidry notes, “The article in the JOC clearly provides data illustrating the need for increased awareness of hereditary cancer risk and lifesaving screenings to help reduce the risk of developing cancer.”
Much of the effort to identify, educate and test at-risk individuals is led by Intermountain Healthcare’s Cancer Genetic Counseling Service. According to Brent Hafen, who directs cancer genetic counseling for Intermountain, “Genetic testing may be used to identify individuals previously diagnosed with cancer as well as healthy individuals who have hereditary cancer gene mutations. Genetic counseling in association with genetic testing allows individuals with an increased cancer risk to obtain more frequent screenings at younger ages leading to earlier detection and treatment of many cancers.”
Intermountain Precision Genomics will soon move into the new stand-alone Intermountain Cancer Center of St. George, which is slated for completion this fall. The first of its kind in southern Utah, this cancer center will represent a beacon of hope where genomic research, scientific discovery and cancer care happen simultaneously under one roof.
Intermountain Precision Genomics is a service of Intermountain Healthcare. For more information about Intermountain Precision Genomics, please visit: precisioncancer.org, join the dialog on Facebook (Intermountain Cancer Centers) or follow @intermtncancer on Twitter.