USPSTF Releases Draft Statement on Risk Assessment for BRCA-Related Cancer

On Tuesday, April 2, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its draft recommendation statement on Risk Assessment, Genetic Counseling, and Genetic Testing for BRCA-Related Cancer.

The USPSTF recommends that primary care providers screen women who have family members with breast or ovarian cancer with one of several screening tools designed to identify a family history that may be associated with an increased risk for potentially harmful mutations in breast cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2). Women with a positive screen should receive genetic counseling and, if indicated after counseling, BRCA testing.

The USPSTF also recommends against routine genetic counseling or routine BRCA testing for women whose family history is not associated with an increased risk for potentially harmful mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

The USPSTF will be accepting public comments on this draft recommendation until April 29, 2013, at 5:00 PM ET.

The USPSTF, an independent volunteer panel of non-government experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, is composed of primary care providers (such as internists, pediatricians, family physicians, gynecologists/obstetricians, and nurses). The USPSTF makes recommendations about the effectiveness of specific clinical preventive services for patients without related signs or symptoms. It bases its recommendations on the evidence of both the benefits and harms of the service and an assessment of the balance. The USPSTF does not consider the costs of providing a service in this assessment.

Last year, OCRF was invited by the USPSTF to participate in this process of developing a recommendation statement, and will continue to provide input and feedback throughout the process.