20th October 2021
Taking a good family history allows geneticists to triage referrals appropriately.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are characterised by an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers; furthermore, the genes also carry an increased risk of prostate cancer (Mehrgou et al, 2016). In some populations (such as the Ashkenazi Jewish community) there is a higher incidence of BRCA1 and 2, therefore a lower threshold for referral should be considered.
Taking a concise detailed family history is an important part of the consultation. Patients with a strong family history should be referred to a clinical geneticist for further assessment.
The referral letter should include all relevant information, including:
- First and second degree affected
- Age at diagnosis
- Tumour type
- Stage of the disease
- Survival rate
For more tips, access GatewayC’s ‘Ovarian Cancer – Early Diagnosis’ course which features Dr Emma Woodward, Consultant Clinical Geneticist, discussing the link between family history and ovarian cancer.
Find out more:
- Access GatewayC’s ‘Ovarian Cancer – Early Diagnosis’ course here
- Read Genomics Education Programme (2021) ‘Taking and drawing a family history’ here
- Read Mehrgou, A. and Akouchekian, M. (2016) ‘The importance of BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes mutations in breast cancer development’ here
- Read Target Ovarian Cancer (2019) ‘Familial ovarian cancer: a guide for primary care’ here
- Read GatewayC’s ‘How reliable is the CA125?’ here