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Genetic cancer risk assessment in general practice: systematic review of tools available, clinician attitudes, and patient outcomes

Laforest, Flore, Kirkegaard, Pia, Mann, Baljinder and Edwards, Adrian ORCID: 2019. Genetic cancer risk assessment in general practice: systematic review of tools available, clinician attitudes, and patient outcomes. British Journal of General Practice 69 (679) , e97-e105. 10.3399/bjgp18X700265

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Background A growing demand for cancer genetic services has led to suggestions for the involvement of GPs. How, and in which conditions, they can be involved, and whether there are important barriers to implementation should be ascertained. Aim To review the tools available, clinician attitudes and experiences, and the effects on patients of genetic cancer risk assessment in general practice. Design and setting Systematic review of papers published worldwide between 1996 and 2017. Method The MEDLINE (via Ovid), EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases and grey literature were searched for entries dating from January 1996 to December 2017. Study quality was assessed with relevant Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool checklists and a narrative synthesis of findings was conducted. Results In total, 40 studies were included in the review. A variety of testing and screening tools were available for genetic cancer risk assessment in general practice, principally for breast, breast–ovarian, and colorectal cancer risk. GPs often reported low knowledge and confidence to engage with genetic cancer risk assessment; however, despite time pressures and concerns about confidentiality and the impact of results on family members, some recognised the potential importance relating to such a development of the GP’s role. Studies found few reported benefits for patients. Concerns about negative impacts on patient anxiety and cancer worries were largely not borne out. Conclusion GPs may have a potential role in identifying patients at risk of hereditary cancer that can be facilitated by family-history tools. There is currently insufficient evidence to support the implementation of population-wide screening for genetic cancer risk, especially given the competing demands of general practice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
ISSN: 0960-1643
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 December 2018
Date of Acceptance: 18 May 2018
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 20:35

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