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09 Jan 2019
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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
09 Jan 2019
Despite comparable efficacies, triamcinolone injections appear to be slightly superior over 5-fluorouracil injections for inducing keloid remission, a recent trial has found.
Jairia Dela Cruz, 6 days ago
Use of standard-dose aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) appears to confer protection against the risk of endometrial cancer in overweight and obese women, according to a meta-analysis.
Tristan Manalac, 6 days ago
Less than 15 percent of Singaporean adolescents get the recommended 8–10 hours of sleep on a school night, reports a recent study, noting that such short sleep duration is linked to symptoms of depression, overweight or obesity, and poorer self-rated health.
04 Jan 2019
Obstructive sleep apnoea may increase the risk of male-pattern baldness in men with a family history of hair loss, and this association appears to be mediated by low serum transferrin saturation levels related to hypoxia, a study suggests.