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2012 ASCO Abstract Highlights Operational Aspects of Genetic Counseling Programs

Stephen L. Sherman, MBA, Program Manager, Best Practices

In March 2012, ASCO accepted for electronic publication an abstract submitted and authored by National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) staff and risk assessment and genetic counseling thought leaders at the following NCCN Member Institutions: Fox Chase Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. The title of the abstract was "The 2010 National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) risk assessment and genetic counseling (RA/GC) study: Operational aspects of RA/GC programs at academic medical centers."

The study was conducted by Stephen L. Sherman, MBA, Program Manager, Best Practices, NCCN. Sherman and colleagues collected quantitative and descriptive data on RA/GC program organization, staffing, patient volume, patient referral, test disclosure, and program funding from 19 NCCN Member Institutions. The mean number of patients seen by risk assessment and genetic counseling services for 17 centers reporting data was 872 (range 130 – 2,200). The mean number of patients seen per year per 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) genetic counselor was 272 (range 152 – 422). Self-sufficient program funding was consistently cited by RA/GC leadership as one of their greatest challenges, with 18 centers indicating that they require institutional support. As it relates to the disclosure of genetic test results, respondents estimated that 48 percent were disclosed to patients via telephone and 39 percent in-person. The remaining disclosures were made via a means described as preferred by the patient.

To view the abstract, visit: http://www.asco.org/ASCOv2/Meetings/Abstracts?&vmview=abst_detail_view&confID=114&abstractID=98701