There is a significant gap in identifying hereditary genetic cancer predispositions, which are estimated to affect 2-4% of the population. In this study, a genetic risk assessment tool (questionnaire) was developed and given to patients before their appointments. If the assessment showed positive results, the clinician was immediately informed and educated the patient about the potential hereditary genetic risk. These patients were then offered a specific genetic assessment for colorectal, pancreatic, ovarian, and breast cancer through on-site saliva collection. Those who tested positive received genetic counseling, and the results and recommendations were shared with their primary care physicians for a comprehensive evaluation and action. This entire process was efficiently carried out through an electronic system for both the healthcare provider and the patient. The findings were significant as these genetic risks might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
What do patients need to know?
Patients should be informed and understand the importance of hereditary genetic cancer predispositions. They should also recognize the value of undergoing appropriate genetic screening and counseling for themselves and their family members. Many cancers and related conditions can either be prevented or detected early.