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  • Author: Deborah J. MacDonald x
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Deborah J. MacDonald, Kathleen R. Blazer and Jeffrey N. Weitzel

Rapidly evolving genetic and genomic technologies for genetic cancer risk assessment (GCRA) are revolutionizing the approach to targeted therapy and cancer screening and prevention, heralding the era of personalized medicine. Although many academic medical centers provide GCRA services, most people receive their medical care in the community setting. However, few community clinicians have the knowledge or time needed to adequately select, apply, and interpret genetic/genomic tests. This article describes alternative approaches to the delivery of GCRA services, profiling the City of Hope Cancer Screening & Prevention Program Network (CSPPN) academic and community-based health center partnership as a model for the delivery of the highest-quality evidence-based GCRA services while promoting research participation in the community setting. Growth of the CSPPN was enabled by information technology, with videoconferencing for telemedicine and Web conferencing for remote participation in interdisciplinary genetics tumor boards. Grant support facilitated the establishment of an underserved minority outreach clinic in the regional County hospital. Innovative clinician education, technology, and collaboration are powerful tools to extend GCRA expertise from a National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, enabling diffusion of evidenced-base genetic/genomic information and best practice into the community setting.

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Therese B. Bevers, Deborah K. Armstrong, Banu Arun, Robert W. Carlson, Kenneth H. Cowan, Mary B. Daly, Irvin Fleming, Judy E. Garber, Mary Gemignani, William J. Gradishar, Helen Krontiras, Swati Kulkarni, Christine Laronga, Loretta Loftus, Deborah J. MacDonald, Martin C. Mahoney, Sofia D. Merajver, Ingrid Meszoely, Lisa Newman, Elizabeth Pritchard, Victoria Seewaldt, Rena V. Sellin, Charles L. Shapiro and John H. Ward

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women with 209,060 and 54,010 estimated cases of invasive breast cancer and female carcinoma in situ, respectively, in 2010. Approximately 39,840 women will die of breast cancer in the United States in 2010.1 Risk factors for the development of breast cancer can be grouped into categories, including familial/genetic factors (family history, known or suspected BRCA1/2, TP53, PTEN, or other gene mutation associated with breast cancer risk); factors related to demographics (e.g., age, ethnicity/race); reproductive history (age at menarche, parity, age at first live birth, age at menopause); environmental factors (prior thoracic irradiation before age 30 years [e.g., to treat Hodgkin disease], hormone replacement therapy [HRT], alcohol consumption); and other factors (e.g., number of breast biopsies, atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ [LCIS], breast density, body mass index). Estimating breast cancer risk for the individual woman is difficult, and most breast cancers are not attributable to risk factors other than female gender and increased age. The development of effective strategies for the reduction of breast cancer incidence has also been difficult because few of the existing risk factors are modifiable and some of the potentially modifiable risk factors have social implications extending beyond concerns for breast cancer (e.g., age at first live birth). Nevertheless, effective breast cancer risk reduction agents/strategies, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, and risk reduction surgery, have been identified. However, women and their physicians who are considering interventions to reduce risk for breast cancer must balance the demonstrated...