Breast carcinoma genetics from a primary care perspective

Wylie Burke, Nancy Press, Linda Pinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


As new information emerges about breast carcinoma genetics, methods to integrate this information into routine clinical practice are needed. The small proportion of breast carcinoma cases due to inherited mutations must be taken into account, as well as the possibility that overemphasis on genetic risk may exacerbate breast carcinoma worries for many women. A collaborative effort between geneticists and primary care providers will support the development of needed guidelines and educational materials. Topics to be addressed include the interpretation of a family history of cancer, the risks and benefits of genetic testing, and recommendations for cancer screening based on risk status. Because most women with a family history of breast carcinoma have little or no increased risk, the goal should be to help primary care practitioners provide effective counseling and appropriate cancer screening to this group, while enabling them to identify the small proportion of high risk individuals who would benefit from referral to genetic counseling. Materials developed in this collaboration should be easy to use in a clinical setting and updated on a regular basis. Related questions to be addressed include what issues to incorporate in counseling sessions for individuals at different risk levels, how to ensure fully informed consent for individuals considering genetic testing, and how to implement effective follow-up care for genetically susceptible individuals. A partnership between medical genetics and primary care practice can help to address these issues in a productive and balanced manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-626
Number of pages6
Issue number3 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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