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June 26, 1996

Testing for Inherited Cancer Susceptibility

Author Affiliations

From the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 1996;275(24):1928-1929. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530480070043

Testing for inherited cancer predisposition syndromes is becoming ever more widely available. In this transition period, health care professionals from many disciplines will be forced to integrate the rapidly evolving technologies and expanding knowledge base of cancer genetics into their patient care paradigms. They will also find it necessary to consider unfamiliar and complex issues with patients and their families while facing pressures to reduce time per patient visit and referral.

See also p 1885.

Many thoughtful and qualified lay and professional groups are concerned that the availability of predisposition testing outside the research setting may be premature: critical clinical questions have yet to be answered, clinicians appropriately educated, test characteristics adequately defined, and sufficient social protections put into place.1-5 The risk of insurance and employment discrimination alone may prevent genetics from realizing its true potential for good.6

The availability of commercial testing for common cancer susceptibility genes