ACLA Statement on New Genetic Testing Guidelines for Hereditary Breast Cancer

New guidelines issued by the American Society of Breast Surgeons call for genetic testing to be available for all breast cancer patients

Washington, D.C. – In response to the American Society of Breast Surgeons’ (ASBrS) recently released guidelines on genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer, ACLA President Julie Khani issued the following statement:

“Our ability to pinpoint the start of breast cancer at its earliest stages – or before it even develops – represents a major inflection point in the treatment and care for countless patients and their family members. Through groundbreaking diagnostic lab tests and following recommended guidelines for screening and monitoring, we can make significant progress in preventing and treating breast cancer before it’s able to progress.”

Today, because of innovations in testing and technology, 62% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed before the cancer spreads outside the breast, according to recent data. In cases where cancer is identified at this early stage (where there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast), the 5-year rate of survival is 99%.

As the new testing guidelines note, patients already diagnosed with breast cancer can also glean important results from genetic tests, including determining the best course of treatment.

Specifically, the new American Society of Breast Surgeons guidelines on genetic testing outline five key recommendations:

  • Breast surgeons, genetic counselors, and other medical professionals knowledgeable in genetic testing can provide patient education and counseling and make recommendations to their patients regarding genetic testing and arrange testing.
  • Genetic testing should be made available to all patients with a personal history of breast cancer.
  • Patients who had genetic testing previously may benefit from updated testing.
  • Genetic testing should be made available to patients without a history of breast cancer who meet NCCN guidelines
  • Variants of uncertain significance are DNA sequences that are NOT clinically actionable. This type of result needs to be considered as inconclusive, and the patient should be managed based on their risk factors and not influenced by this result.

To view the new American Society of Breast Surgeons guidelines on genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer, click here.

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ACLA is a not-for-profit association representing the nation’s leading clinical and anatomic pathology laboratories, including national, regional, specialty, hospital, ESRD and nursing home laboratories. The clinical laboratory industry employs nearly 277,000 people directly, and generates over 115,000 additional jobs in supplier industries. Clinical laboratories are at the forefront of personalized medicine, driving diagnostic innovation and contributing more than $100 billion to the nation’s economy.

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