Many women with breast cancer with genetic variants of uncertain significance (VUS) undergo testing and bilateral mastectomy (BLM) without ever receiving genetic counseling, and may not receive personalized therapy and therefore optimal care, according to a report published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Genetic testing for breast cancer has become increasingly available and become part of breast cancer management more than most other disease states, yet challenges in clinical communication and practice lead to a failure to counsel high-risk patients. The investigators evaluated the role and challenges of genetic testing in breast cancer management.

Patients with breast cancer were surveyed regarding their experiences with genetic testing. Surgeons were also surveyed in regards to counseling their patients about genetic testing, and if they would manage patients with breast cancer with varying genetic profiles differently. Genetic testing guidelines were used to determine a patient population at higher pretest risk of pathogenic mutation.