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Pearl Toh, 22 Oct 2020
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Integrating genetic testing into routine oncology care in the UK

Dr Joslyn Ngu
04 Dec 2017

Making genetic testing mainstream, allows more patients to be tested, identifies more carriers and enables appropriate stratification of treatment and outcomes, says an expert.

Despite the many advantages of genetic testing, patients with ovarian cancer are historically under-referred, said Dr Angela George, consultant oncogenetics and clinical lead of the Cancer Genetics Unit, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, UK. The reasons for this include the failures to take family history; to recognize family history; and to refer.

The integration of genetic testing into routine oncology care requires the education of clinicians, oncologists and specialized nurses so they are well-equipped to take consent from patients for genetic testing, said George. Once patients who fit the pre-agreed criteria for testing gives their consent, healthcare professionals in the clinic can obtain the necessary blood samples and send them together with the forms to a genetics centre. This will reduce the need for patients to make additional appointments with the genetics department, which means no extra appointments and no waiting for referral, she said.

In the UK, a training programme for healthcare professionals to perform BRCA gene testing for breast and ovarian cancer is available on Youtube and a certificate of completion is provided, said George.

Ovarian cancer is a good example to showcase the benefits of mainstreaming genetic testing. An estimated 15 percent of ovarian cancer have a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation. [Sci Rep 2016;6:29506. Doi: 10.1038/srep29506]

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Most Read Articles
Pearl Toh, 22 Oct 2020
The combination therapy comprising carfilzomib, cyclophosphamide and dexamethasone (KCd) is effective, with a tolerable safety profile, in an Asian cohort with high-risk multiple myeloma (MM) — thus providing a more economical alternative as a potential upfront regimen in resource-limited settings, according to leading experts during a myeloma education webinar.
Pearl Toh, 21 Sep 2020
Early and sustained treatments with simplified regimen are the key to achieving good asthma control, said experts during a presentation at the ERS 2020 Congress.
4 days ago
Weight suppression appears to result in future onset of eating disorders characterized by dietary restriction or compensatory weight control behaviours, suggesting weight-suppressed women represent an at-risk group that may benefit from selective prevention programmes, a study has found.
5 days ago
Nocturia is a risk factor for mortality, according to the results of the Nagahama Study, which boasts of a low incidence of missing data and high representation of the general population.