• attitude;
  • breast cancer;
  • genetic counselling;
  • BRCA testing;
  • referral and consultation

VAN RIEL E., WÁRLÁM-RODENHUIS C.C., VERHOEF S., RUTGERS E.J.TH. & AUSEMS M.G.E.M. (2010) European Journal of Cancer Care19, 369–376 BRCA testing of breast cancer patients: medical specialists' referral patterns, knowledge and attitudes to genetic testing

This study explores knowledge about hereditary breast cancer, attitudes about BRCA testing and referral pattern to a family cancer clinic among medical specialists. A total of 92 questionnaires were completed by surgeons (38), medical oncologists (29), radiation oncologists (13) and radiologists (12). The response rate was 51%. A substantial (11–56%) proportion of medical specialists do not refer patients who meet current criteria for BRCA testing. Although questions on inheritance were less well answered, overall knowledge was good. They had a positive attitude, but were concerned about the distress DNA testing might cause to family members. The majority (75%) stated that the best time for referral is after adjuvant therapy or during follow-up, but another important determinant was the patient's wish or need (12%). Further studies are needed to gain insight into the actual referral process, while ongoing training of medical specialists about genetic aspects of breast cancer is also necessary.