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Physician Risk Assessment Knowledge Regarding BRCA Genetics Testing


The study aim was to evaluate the association between genetics referrals, training in medical school, residency, or continuing medical education and physician knowledge of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC). A survey of 55 questions was administered to 140 physicians evaluating knowledge and practice patterns regarding HBOC. Physicians with genetics training during residency were more likely to recognize that most instances of ovarian cancer are not hereditary (odds ratio (OR) = 3.16; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.32, 7.58). Physicians with continuing medical education (CME) training on genetics were more likely to identify that screening can be improved for those with a hereditary mutation (OR = 4.28; 95 % CI 1.32, 13.90). Primary care physicians who frequently referred for genetics were more likely to recognize that maternal history is not more important than paternal history (OR = 2.51; 95 % CI 1.11, 5.66), that screening can be improved for those with hereditary risk (OR = 4.06; 95 % CI 1.08, 15.22), and that females with a hereditary breast cancer risk would have different recommendations for screening than someone without this risk (OR = 4.91; 95 % CI 1.04, 23.25). Our data suggest that training and frequency of genetics referrals may be associated with knowledge of general risk assessment for HBOC.

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We would like to acknowledge Candi Rosen for assisting with manuscript review and Mahnaz Tehrani for her assistance with literature reviews.

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No competing financial interests exist.

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Correspondence to Bhuma Krishnamachari.

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Cohn, J., Blazey, W., Tegay, D. et al. Physician Risk Assessment Knowledge Regarding BRCA Genetics Testing. J Canc Educ 30, 573–579 (2015).

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  • Hereditary cancer
  • BRCA
  • Physician knowledge
  • Genetics testing
  • Continuing medical education