ASBrS-NSGC Joint Statement of Medical Societies Regarding Genetic Testing Requirements

In an effort to emphasize the importance of genetic testing and to facilitate high-value genetics services by all clinicians, the ASBrS and the NSGC recognize the common goal of delivering quality genetic testing as part of optimal patient care for our patients. We want to assure that all patients who are eligible for testing have access. We recognize that some breast surgeons are prevented from ordering testing by institutional policies or insurer requirements. We believe any barriers to genetic testing pose the risk of exacerbating disparities in access to care.

It is proposed that:

  1. Every patient who sees a breast surgeon should be evaluated for hereditary risk of cancer, potential need for genetic testing and/or genetic counseling.

    Breast surgeons with sufficient experience and appropriate training in hereditary risk assessment/genetic testing should be able to order genetic testing when indicated. The breast surgeon should be knowledgeable in genetic testing and be able to provide patient education, counseling, and make recommendations to their patients regarding genetic testing and genetically-targeted care pathways, consistent with the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer and National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers Standards on Cancer Risk Assessment, Genetic Counseling and Genetic Testing.

  2. Genetic Counselors are a vital resource and provide valuable support in education, testing, and interpretation of genetic test results. A team approach to care is ideal, including both high-quality breast surgeons and genetics professionals for consultation and assistance as needed.

  3. There are a multitude of different and equally effective genetic counseling service delivery models including in person and telemedicine. When necessary, these services can be made available within the particular time of surgical decision making for breast cancer treatment.

  4. Increasing efforts will continue to facilitate the delivery of high value genetic counseling services through leveraging alternative service delivery models and fostering collaborative approaches to genetics service delivery between both genetics and non-genetics providers. This will effectively promote our mutual goal of providing hereditary risk assessment and genetic testing for all appropriate patients.

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