The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) recently expanded BRCA1/2 mutation testing to all breast cancer patients under 65 years old and select patients over age 65.
This update reflects the rapid expansion of genetic testing and more personalized treatments for patients with BRCA mutations. For example, the FDA in 2022 approved the PARP inhibitor olaparib, or Lynparza, for patients with high-risk, early-stage breast cancer. In patients with BRCA-mutated, HER2-negative disease, olaparib reduces the risk of death by 32% and improves disease-free survival rates by over 40%. That means knowing a patient’s BRCA status could save their life.
But what happens when many more breast cancer patients are suddenly eligible for services that are already in high demand? A much larger pool of patients now requires access to genetics because these guidelines not only broaden testing recommendations for patients with cancer today, but they will also trigger expanded cascade testing, providing insight into future risks for patients and their family members, who will need long-term management to support prevention and early detection.
Importantly, the increased volume of genetic tests yields a second issue; it also introduces a greater demand for genetic counseling, patient education and long-term medical management. As such, providers will need better tools to properly manage their patients.
How Software Can Make Genetics Easy
The need to use genetic lab results responsibly already exists, and it will continue to grow as guidelines expand.
For example, research led by Allison Kurian, MD, of Stanford University found that physicians often treated newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with variants of unknown significance (VUS) similar to patients with mutations known to increase a woman’s risk.
Given the national shortage of genetic counselors, it is imperative to equip clinical teams with the tools to support genetics at scale. This is where solutions like CancerIQ fit in.
Our platform offers:
- Touchless, patient-initiated risk assessment to streamline family history data collection.
- On-demand educational content, created by the experts, so every patient can learn directly from a licensed genetic counselor.
- Telegenetic counseling, virtual health navigation and referral coordination to ensure every patient receives timely follow-up care.
- Provider education and support so clinical teams can auto generate pedigrees and accurately identify other family members at risk.
Giving providers the tools to use genetic information more comprehensively, increases the likelihood of patient follow-through and long-term medical management changes. In the case of breast cancer, it can ensure mutation carriers receive the most up-to-date care, while also eliminating overtreatment in lower risk patients.
Curious how software—like CancerIQ—could help you and your health system manage patients smarter based on their genetic profile? Schedule a complimentary demo and connect with us.