Hereditary Breast Cancer: Practical Pursuit for Clinical Translation
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The benefits of a skillful medical history and histologic confirmation of relevant pathology are potentially lifesaving. Appropriately directed DNA testing based on these initial steps provides an opportunity for clinical translation into a cancer prevention program targeted to family members. Unfortunately, cancer prevention strategies that are based on genetics are frequently overlooked or underestimated in the overall practical management of patients at high risk for breast cancer as well as integral cancers that constitute a hereditary breast cancer syndrome. DNA testing, particularly for BRCA1 and BRCA2 in hereditary breast–ovarian cancer syndrome and p53 in the Li-Fraumeni syndrome, and many other syndromes is commercially available for inclusion in a cancer control program and merits attention in this major public health problem. It is clear that the time and effort expended for a hereditary cancer syndrome diagnosis may significantly reduce both morbidity and mortality in breast cancer. We have found that genetic counselors can partner with the clinical physicians and make significant contributions to this labor-intensive effort.
This work was supported by revenue from Nebraska cigarette taxes awarded to Creighton University by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the State of Nebraska or the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. H.L.’s work is partially funded through the Charles F. and Mary C. Heider Chair in Cancer Research, which he holds at Creighton University.
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