Black women receive BRCA testing less frequently than white women. Why is that? Researchers thought the reason might be that black and white women see different health care providers. However, new research suggests that disparities in physician recommendations for testing are the cause: black women with breast cancer were less likely to receive physician recommendations for BRCA testing than white women with breast cancer. There is a need to ensure equity in physician testing recommendations for black women. (7/21/16)
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network is a consortium of experts in cancer and genetics. They publish consensus guidelines for genetic testing for inherited mutations that increase cancer risk. Their guidelines for genetic testing for people diagnosed with breast cancer include:
For people with HER2-negative, metastatic breast cancer, NCCN recommends BRCA testing before starting on chemotherapy to see if there may be benefit from treatment with a PARP inhibitor.
According to NCCN, cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling is highly recommended before genetic testing is offered (pre-test counseling) and after results are disclosed (post-test counseling). A genetic counselor, medical geneticist, oncologist, surgeon, oncology nurse, or other health professional with expertise and experience in cancer genetics should be involved early in the counseling of patients.
FORCE is a national nonprofit organization, established in 1999. Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by adult hereditary cancers.