"We hope that further research into ways to use genomic science, such as identifying women who have harmful BRCA genes but do not have a family history of cancer, could improve screening practices and even prevent some cancers," she added.
The task force said it also found evidence to recommend that primary-care health providers screen women who have family members with breast or ovarian cancer to determine if their family history is associated with an increased possibility of having BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.
In situations where this is the case, women should receive in-depth genetic counseling to thoroughly review family history and -- if indicated and after weighing the pros and cons of BRCA testing -- undergo the test, the report said.
The recommendations apply to women who have not been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer but who have family members with breast or ovarian cancer and whose BRCA status is unknown.
The draft report and recommendations will be open for public comment until April 29.
"Every year, too many American women and families are faced with the challenge of dealing with breast and ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment," Moyer said. "We need better treatments, better screening methods and, most importantly, better ways to prevent cancer."
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about BRCA mutations and cancer risk.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, news release, April 1, 2013
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