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Research Letter
August 14, 2018

BRCA1 and BRCA2 Testing in Medically Underserved Medicare Beneficiaries With Breast or Ovarian Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
  • 2Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
  • 3Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA. 2018;320(6):597-598. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.8258

Identifying pathogenic germline mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can affect therapeutic and preventive recommendations for individuals with cancer. It is unclear whether medically underserved individuals are afforded the option to test for such mutations. We assessed BRCA1 and BRCA2 test uptake in a cohort of medically underserved Medicare beneficiaries with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both.

The analytic cohort was drawn from the Southern Community Cohort Study, a prospective study of 84 513 participants (66% black, 30% white) recruited in 2002-2009 from community health centers across 12 states in the southeastern United States1 (federally funded clinics serving areas and populations that lack access to primary care). Half of the cohort was covered by Medicare (80% in fee-for-service).

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