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Oncologists' perspectives of telephone genetic counseling to facilitate germline BRCA1/2 testing for their patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer


Poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors offer a survival advantage to women with high-grade serous ovarian cancer who have a germline BRCA1/2 pathogenic variant (PV). Yet, rates of genetic testing among this population have remained persistently low. A national, centralized telephone genetic counseling service was established in January 2016 in Australia to improve access to genetic services and facilitate BRCA1/2 testing for this population to inform treatment. Medical oncologists can refer their patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer to this service for genetic testing. This study aimed to explore oncologists' experiences of using this telephone genetic counseling service for their patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer. A qualitative approach using semi-structured telephone interviews was undertaken with Australian oncologists who had referred patients to the telephone genetic counseling service. Sixteen oncologists participated and described referring patients to the telephone genetic counseling service due to the timeliness of obtaining a genetic counseling appointment and BRCA1/2 test results. They also reported this service offered convenience for patients living in regional or rural areas who then did not have to travel for an appointment with a clinical genetics service. Many oncologists noted the importance of in-person genetic counseling for patients who received positive BRCA1/2 results. Areas for improvement identified by the oncologists related to communication issues between the service and the patient. Overall, findings suggest that oncologists perceived telephone genetic counseling as an acceptable and useful healthcare service for patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer. Moreover, they perceived telephone genetic counseling to be efficient, delivering convenient genetic counseling to patients.

Type Journal
ISBN 1868-310X (Print) 1868-310X (Linking)
Authors Hemming, P.; Kaur, R.; Meiser, B.; McKinley, J.; Young, M. A.; James, P. A.; Forrest, L. E.
Publisher Name Journal of Community Genetics
Published Date 2021-05-31
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1007/s12687-021-00530-7
URL link to publisher's version