• Open Access

Compliance with professional guidelines with reference to familial cancer services

Authors

  • Gaenor Kyne,

    1. Office of Population Health Genomics, Department of Health, Western Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Susannah Maxwell,

    1. Office of Population Health Genomics, Department of Health, Western Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kate Brameld,

    1. Office of Population Health Genomics, Department of Health, Western Australia; Centre for Population Health Research, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI), Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia, and School of Population Health, University of Western Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Katrina Harrison,

    1. Genetic Services of Western Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jack Goldblatt,

    1. Genetic Services of Western Australia and School of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Peter O'Leary

    1. Office of Population Health Genomics, Department of Health, Western Australia; Centre for Population Health Research, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI), Curtin University of Technology; School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Western Australia and School of Women's and Infants’ Health, University of Western Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence to:
Ms Susannah Maxwell, Office of Population Health Genomics, Third floor C Block, 189 Royal Street, East Perth, WA 6004; e-mail: suzy.maxwell@health.wa.gov.au

Abstract

Objective: Professional guidelines define the risk categorisation of patients for a genetic predisposition to cancer based on family history. These guidelines inform the appropriate referral of patients to specialist familial cancer services. Our study aimed to determine the quality of referral letters from general practitioners and specialists to genetic services for breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers, and their compliance with relevant professional guidelines.

Methods: A retrospective review of the referral letters and patient files of 241 consecutive patients referred between June and October 2008.

Results: Sufficient information to make a risk assessment was provided in 71% of referrals. Of these, 89% were compliant with guidelines. Genetic counsellors collected further information on 167 of the 241 referred patients and of these 83% were appropriate for referral according to guidelines.

Conclusions and implications: Overall, referrals to familial cancer genetic services complied with professional referral guidelines. The majority of referrals were high quality, and with additional information, most patients were shown to be appropriate for review in a familial cancer clinic. Despite this, a better understanding of the reasons for non compliant referrals, and appropriate targeted education and resources is recommended to improve referral quality and compliance.

Ancillary