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Clinical Challenges

Managing Families With a Hereditary Cancer Syndrome

Suzanne M. Mahon
ONF 2011, 38(6), 641-644 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.641-644

Oncology is one of the first subspecialties to experience the full impact of the genomics revolution; oncology nurses regularly use genomic science in prevention, screening, diagnostics, prognostics, selection of treatment, and monitoring of treatment effectiveness in cancer care (Mahon, 2009). Genetic tests are now routinely ordered to determine risk for developing and appropriate management of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, and many other hereditary cancer syndromes—often without formal genetic assessment by a credentialed professional. Two cases will be reviewed that demonstrate the complexities of providing and coordinating care for at-risk relatives with a genetic predisposition to developing cancer.

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