New Guidelines Call for Gene Screening for Cancer Survivors

November 8, 2019

Revised federal guidelines recommend that more women, especially cancer survivors, be considered for genetic screening for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Revised federal guidelines recommend that more women, especially cancer survivors, be considered for genetic screening for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), certain women will benefit from testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, genetic mutations that raise the risk of certain cancers, such as breast, ovarian and prostate.

The updated guidelines, published in JAMA, now include survivors of breast and other BRCA-related cancers, including ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancers.

It also includes women whose ancestry makes them more likely to inherit higher-risk BRCA mutations, such as Ashkenazi Jews.

“The USPSTF recommends that primary care clinicians assess women with a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, tubal or peritoneal cancer or who have an ancestry associated with BRCA1/2 gene mutations with an appropriate brief familial risk assessment tool,” the USPSTF said in a statement.

“Women with a positive result on the risk assessment tool should receive genetic counseling and, if indicated after counseling, genetic testing.”

This recommendation could be good news for insurance coverage, because private insurers follow the task force’s recommendations on what preventive care to cover, according to the Associated Press.


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