New cancer screening recommendations released
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 26, 2005
Primary care doctors should not routinely refer all women for genetic counseling and DNA testing to detect the presence of specific BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations that may be associated with breast or ovarian cancer, according to a new recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
But if a woman has certain specific family history patterns that put her at risk for these gene mutations, her primary care physician should suggest counseling and possible DNA testing.
This was the first time the task force has addressed the issue of genetic counseling and DNA-based testing for any disease. The recommendations, along with a review of supporting evidence, appear in the Sept. 6 Annals of Internal Medicine.
Women who inherit mutations in one or both of the genes have a greater risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer, especially if family members have had one or both of the cancers. However, it is believed that in the general population, only about one out of every 300 to 500 women has this genetic mutation, according to the task force.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/09/26/hlbf0926.htm.