Familial Cancer

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 193–197

A clinical perspective on genetic counseling and testing during end of life care for women with recurrent progressive ovarian cancer: opportunities and challenges

  • Molly S. Daniels
  • Jennifer K. Burzawa
  • Amanda C. Brandt
  • Kathleen M. Schmeler
  • Karen H. Lu


10–15% of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer is attributable to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The identification of BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations in women with ovarian cancer allows for accurate predictive genetic testing of their at-risk relatives, who can then avail themselves of early detection and risk reduction strategies. In the case of women with recurrent progressive ovarian cancer, the window of opportunity for genetic testing can be particularly limited. Here we describe our perspective on providing genetic counseling during these patients’ end of life care, incorporating two illustrative examples from our clinical practice. While these situations pose unique challenges, they also present a significant opportunity to benefit the patient and her family. Further attention and research should be directed towards provision of genetic counseling and testing during end of life care.


Ovarian cancer BRCA1 BRCA2 Genetic testing Genetic counseling Recurrent cancer End of life issues 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly S. Daniels
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jennifer K. Burzawa
    • 1
  • Amanda C. Brandt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kathleen M. Schmeler
    • 1
  • Karen H. Lu
    • 1
  1. 1.U.T.M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Gynecologic OncologyUnit 1362HoustonUSA
  2. 2.U.T.M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Clinical Cancer Genetics ProgramUnit 1362HoustonUSA

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