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Despite the fact that breast cancer testing can play a critical role in diagnosing the condition at a stage when it is still treatable, few doctors report appropriately offering testing and treatment options to their patients based on their individual risk factors, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer.
In recent years, genetic testing has allowed medical professionals to get a more accurate picture of women who are at the highest risk. These women should receive breast cancer testing and counseling. Conversely, those who are at relatively low risk should be cautioned against unnecessary testing, experts say.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers who conducted the study found that this is rarely the case. Only 41 percent of survey respondents said they factored in these types of genetic risk factors when making recommendations for breast cancer testing and counseling.
"Despite the existence of evidence-based guidelines on referral for genetic counseling and testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, many physicians report practices contrary to these recommendations," said Dr. Katrina Trivers, who led the investigation.
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