Education, Access Are Major Barriers to Genetic Testing for Breast, Ovarian Cancers

SAP Partners | Health System / Oncology | <b>Association of Community Cancer Centers</b>

Oncologist Susan Miesfeldt, MD, of MaineHealth, discussed the importance of genetic testing and counseling for breast and ovarian cancers as well as barriers that must be addressed in order to reach more patients eligible for these services.

In an interview with Pharmacy Times, oncologist Susan Miesfeldt, MD, of MaineHealth, discussed the importance of genetic testing and counseling for breast and ovarian cancers as well as barriers that must be addressed in order to reach more patients eligible for these services.

Miesfeldt worked with a team of experts in a recent nationwide effort to improve these services, with a poster of their results presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2021 Annual Conference. This was an Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) project with an ACCC-led abstract. In the project, various groups around the country tried unique approaches to expand genetic testing and counseling, and Miesfeldt said the MaineHealth team used the well-established ECHO approach.

Miesfeldt pointed to several barriers to genetic testing, including clinician education, public education, and a lack of health systems infrastructure to ensure proper genetic services. Notably, Miesfeldt said infrustrature must be built in order to ensure that patients’ families have accurate and timely information about their genetic testing results, in order to provide preventive services when necessary.