Surgeons who had a high volume of patients with breast cancer had higher confidence in discussing genetic testing, but patients with BRCA1/2 VUS were managed the same as patients with BRCA 1/2 pathogenic mutations by many surgeons (higher volume, 25%; lower volume, 50%).

Of the surveyed patients, 666 reported genetic testing. Fifty-seven percent of patients at higher pretest risk and 42% at average risk discussed the results with a genetic counselor. Patients who had pathogenic mutations with BRCA 1/2 or another gene had the highest rates of BLM (higher risk, 80%; average risk, 85%); but BLM was also common among patients with genetic VUS (higher risk, 43%; average risk, 51%).

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Study authors conclude by saying, “Our findings reinforce the need to address challenges in personalized communication about genetic testing. Clinicians’ skill in communication about precision medicine technologies will determine whether these advances translate into better care and outcomes.”


1. Kurian AW, Li Y, Hamiltin AS, et al. Gaps in incorporating germline genetic testing into treatment decision-making for early-stage breast cancer [published online July 6, 2017]. J Clin Oncol. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.71.6480