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Dr. Virginia Kaklamani Comments on Genetic Counseling for Women at High Risk, ABC TV News

Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, MD, DSc

August 2011

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that many doctors don't follow evidence-based guidelines on genetic counseling and testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. As a result, too many average-risk women and too few high-risk women receive these important services.

Women with mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a higher risk of getting breast and ovarian cancers. Medical treatments can reduce the risk sharply, so genetic testing is recommended for women whose personal or family history shows they may have these mutations. Genetic testing is not recommended for women at average risk because the harms of treatment outweigh the benefits.

Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, MD, DSc, Co-Director of Northwestern's Genetics Program and Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, commented in an ABC TV News report that, while there was no harm in an average-risk woman receiving genetic counseling, unnecessary testing could be harmful because it may just lead to increased anxieties in a patient.

Click here to learn more about Northwestern's Cancer Genetics Program and view the Cancer Genetics Program brochure.

(Last updated on June 21, 2013 )