Advocating for equitable management of hereditary cancer syndromes

J Genet Couns. 2022 Jan 14. doi: 10.1002/jgc4.1548. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The potential for preventive medicine to lead to more equitable health outcomes exists with the inclusion of genetic testing in medicine. Because of the medical implications of genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes and the financial cost attached to recommended management, ensuring equitable access to cancer screening and prevention must be made a priority. For patients with Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) syndrome, the benefits of early detection and prevention are clear, significant, and create the opportunity to provide more equitable, personalized, preventive healthcare. Thus, for genetics providers who offer testing access for their patients, it is important to reflect on the ethical responsibility of advocating for access to appropriate management. Cancer genetic counselors can advocate for health equity by providing thorough pre-test genetic counseling, collaborating with other disciplines to coordinate care, lobbying state, and national representatives to pass legislation promoting health equity, and developing a management clinic that helps to ensure follow-up. Equitable access to and benefit from hereditary cancer risk management must be achieved in the pursuit of personalized preventive medicine.

Keywords: disparities; ethics; policy; public health; risk management; service delivery models.