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Society of Gynecologic Oncologists Provides Guidelines for Offering Genetic Risk Assessment to Women With a Personal or Family History of Breast, Ovarian, Uterine or Colorectal Cancer

CHICAGO, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- In its Statement on Risk Assessment for Inherited Gynecologic Cancer Predispositions, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) provides concise guidelines, usable in a primary care setting, to guide physicians as to which women with a personal or family history of breast, gynecologic or colorectal cancer may benefit from a hereditary risk assessment.

SGO's Statement on Risk Assessment for Inherited Gynecologic Cancer Predispositions offers guidance as to who may benefit from a hereditary cancer risk assessment, as well as who may receive enhanced care as a result. The statement will be published in the November issue of Gynecologic Oncology (Elsevier Science) and will be made available online at on October 17, 2007.

Currently, as many as 1 in 10 breast, gynecologic, and colorectal cancers are caused by hereditary predispositions that genetic testing can detect -- including those for the two most commonly encountered hereditary cancer syndromes, Hereditary Breast/Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC) and Lynch/Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer Syndrome (HNPCC). Women with HBOC have up to a 65-85% risk for breast cancer and a 39-46% risk of ovarian cancer by age 70. Women with HNPCC have a 40-60% risk for both endometrial and colorectal cancer by age 70 and an increased risk for ovarian cancer. Genetic risk assessment offers women an individualized evaluation of their likelihood of having one of these cancer predisposition syndromes and gives physicians the opportunity to provide tailored screening and prevention strategies to ultimately reduce the risk of the morbidity and mortality associated with these diseases.

"SGO's Statement on Risk Assessment for Inherited Gynecologic Cancer Predispositions provides gynecologists, gynecologic oncologists and other women's primary care providers with clear, concise, usable guidelines for identifying who may benefit from a hereditary cancer risk assessment," says Dr. Noah Kauff, Gynecologist and Cancer Geneticist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. "There has been a significant interest in genetic risk assessment in both the medial and lay communities, but clear-cut criteria detailing who to assess for hereditary gynecologic cancer risk have been lacking. These guidelines are an important step forward in assisting physicians' ability to make informed recommendations regarding who should undergo genetic risk assessment."

"This is all about risk-reduction," adds Dr. Andrew Berchuck, SGO's President and the Director of Duke University Medical Center's Division of Gynecologic Oncology. "The women with these hereditary cancer syndromes have a tremendously increased risk of developing breast, ovarian, colorectal or endometrial cancer. By identifying their risks early on, we can determine the best possible course of action to reduce their risks through proven screening and prevention strategies -- altering the natural history of these inherited syndromes and their effects on our patients' health."

Hereditary cancer risk assessment is a process conducted by a physician, genetic counselor or other provider with expertise in cancer genetics. It includes assessment of risk, education and counseling. Genetic testing may also be included if so desired by the patient after appropriate counseling and informed consent.

Physicians are encouraged to read an advance publication of the Statement on Risk Assessment for Inherited Gynecologic Cancer Predispositions in its entirety at

About SGO

The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) is a national medical specialty society for physicians trained in the comprehensive management of women's cancers. The Society's membership is primarily comprised of gynecologic oncologists -- obstetrician/gynecologists who undertake an additional 3-4 years of intensive training in the specific study of gynecologic cancers. SGO members provide medical and surgical care to women with ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, vulvar cancer, and vaginal cancer. They are trained to in chemotherapy and radiation therapy administration, supportive care, and surgery in order to provide comprehensive care to their patients. More information on gynecologic oncology, the SGO, and its members can be found at

Contact: Jessica Schackmuth

(312) 235-4060

SOURCE Society of Gynecologic Oncologists
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