Familial Risk Assessment & Management

Approximately 5-10% of newly diagnosed cancers are genetically inherited. ASCO has a broad set of initiatives designed to improve the quality of preventive and therapeutic care for cancer patients and their families at hereditary risk for cancer.  ASCO’s goals are to:

  • Develop an oncology workforce capable of identifying and caring for persons at increased genetic risk of cancer
  • Advance and expand access to care provided to patients and familiesaffected by hereditary cancer syndromes 

ASCO’s initiatives in cancer genetics began more than a decade ago and have resulted in important educational offerings and policy recommendations to improve the quality of both preventive and therapeutic oncologic care for cancer patients and their families at hereditary risk for cancer.  With expected increased protections of genetic privacy and decreasing costs of molecular genetic testing technologies, and the emergence of low penetrance and pharmacogenetic risk markers, the increasing demand for cancer genetic services will require continued ASCO initiatives in this area. 

Currently, ASCO's cancer prevention efforts are focused on the following areas:

  • Provider Education: development of education initiatives to increase oncologists’ core knowledge about hereditary cancer susceptibility syndromes; methods of cancer risk assessment and risk management; and awareness of novel targets and ideas (i.e. pharmacogenetics).
  • Physician Tools and Resources: to support oncologists in integrating hereditary cancer risk assessment into clinical practice and to ensure that adequate reimbursement is available for these services
  • QOPI Measures: development and revision of family history and genetic counseling measures for integration into QOPI