The Imperative of Annual Cancer Risk Reassessment for Healthcare Providers

May 13, 2024

For healthcare providers, the continuous reassessment of a patient’s cancer risk is not just a best practice—it's a necessity underscored by the latest clinical guidelines. The imperative to stay current with an individual’s evolving risk factors is critical for delivering precision care and optimizing outcomes.


Advancements in Genetic Profiling

In recent years, the scientific community has achieved remarkable progress in understanding the genetic underpinnings of cancer. A study by Mersch et al., published in Genetics in Medicine in 2019, shed light on the dynamic nature of genetic variant classification. It revealed that within a span of a year, approximately 12% of variants initially classified as VUS (variants of uncertain significance) underwent a reclassification that could impact patient management. This statistic alone underscores the need for healthcare providers to routinely update their risk assessments to ensure that management plans remain aligned with the latest genetic insights (Mersch et al., 2019).

ASCO's Stance on Family History

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) underscores the importance of collecting a patient’s family history annually. This practice is not only about gathering data; it’s about recognizing shifts in the cancer risk landscape that could prompt changes in surveillance and intervention strategies. As family structures extend and medical histories evolve, what you knew about a patient last year may not be complete today (ASCO, 2021).

The NCI's Perspective on Risk Factors

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has also highlighted the need for regular updates in risk factors, noting that changes in lifestyle, environmental exposures, and aging can all influence an individual's cancer risk. These updates are crucial for tailoring prevention and screening recommendations according to the most recent evidence-based guidelines (NCI, 2022).


Implications for Practice

The implications of these findings for your practice are clear:

  • Genetic Insights: Stay abreast of the latest genetic testing guidelines to ensure your patients benefit from current knowledge about hereditary risks.
  • Family History: Make it a routine to collect updated family histories during annual visits to capture new diagnoses that may alter risk assessments.
  • Personalized Care: Use updated patient information to personalize surveillance and prevention strategies, potentially improving outcomes and patient satisfaction.
  • Professional Development: Engaging with ongoing education from a trusted content partner like CancerIQ can help you understand how novel genetic discoveries may influence risk assessment and management.



Incorporating annual cancer risk reassessment into your practice is not just about following guidelines—it's about embodying the principle of personalized medicine. By aligning your practice with the most current research and recommendations, you play an active role in the evolving narrative of cancer prevention and care.

Keeping pace with the dynamic field of genetic research and familial risk factors is more than a clinical responsibility—it's a commitment to patient-centered care. Learn how CancerIQ can help you reassess cancer risk annually to ensure that your clinical decisions are informed by the latest advancements and tailored to the unique needs of each patient:




Mersch J, et al. (2019). Prevalence of Variant Reclassification Following Hereditary Cancer Genetic Testing. Genetics in Medicine.

ASCO. (2021). Collecting a Family History of Cancer.

-NCI. (2022). Cancer Risk Factors.