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Semin Oncol. 2007 Oct;34(5):369-78.

Practical aspects of delivering hereditary cancer risk counseling.

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Jess and Mildred Fisher Center for Familial Cancer Research, Georgetown University, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


The primary element involved in the practical delivery of hereditary cancer risk counseling is the development of a cancer genetics service. This service should involve a multidisciplinary core of specialists, aim to identify at-risk individuals and their families, and provide comprehensive genetic counseling with the option of genetic testing. This article examines the development of a cancer genetics service beginning with the fundamentals of patient ascertainment, location, staffing, and billing. It also reviews the elements involved in the provision of genetic counseling services, including formalized risk assessment and risk communication. Finally, we review novel modes of delivery of genetic counseling including the use of telephone counseling and telemedicine as a means of expanding the scope of this service and extending its reach to individuals who might otherwise not have access to a risk assessment clinic. Overall, this presentation can serve as a resource for identifying the practical aspects involved in the delivery of hereditary cancer risk counseling and their subsequent integration into the workings of a proficient cancer genetics service able to identify and serve at-risk patients and their family members.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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