By coordinating and implementing cancer risk reduction strategies, promoting cascade testing, and promoting genetics-related cancer research, one institution’s new genetic cancer prevention clinic (GCPC) improved surveillance, additional testing, discovery of new pathogenic variants, and overall patient satisfaction, a team of oncology nurses and other healthcare professionals reported during a poster presentation at the 49th annual ONS Congress® in April 2024.

“The GCPC was developed from a system-wide provider desire to deliver for a centralized clinic to deliver complex, variant-specific care and address related concerns,” the speakers said. “Patients voiced interest in a clinic construct to help with navigating a complex health system.”

The team, which included ONS members Kathryn Pratt, BSN, RN, OCN®, CBCN®, ONN-CG, and Megan Templo, BSN, RN, CNOR, CBCN®, HWNC-BC, created a weekly, interprofessional clinic for increased risk for hereditary cancers because of a known pathogenic variant but were not currently on active cancer treatment.

In the first 12 months, the GCPC served 166 patients across four U.S. states (California, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas). Of those, 115 were previvors and the remainder had histories of breast cancer (n = 27), melanoma (n = 4), ovarian cancer (n = 3), kidney cancer (n = 2), and other cancers (n = 15). A majority of patients were aged 21–50 (66%), and 4% were Asian, 6% Black, 7% Hispanic or Latino, 79% White, and 4% from other racial and ethnic groups. The most commonly reported known genetic variants were BRCA2, BRCA1, CHEK2, PALB2, and ATM.

The GCPC’s services are twofold:

  • Education (e.g., National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommendations, clinical trial opportunities, support services, cascade testing, healthy lifestyle behaviors)
  • Referrals (e.g., laboratory tests, screening tests, primary care, specialty care such as dermatology or gynecologic and breast oncology consults)

After participating in the GCPC and its services, 100% of patients said they “definitely felt empowered” to make healthcare decisions about their cancer risk and 92% said they were “confident discussing results with family members.”

“When you are first diagnosed, your head goes to terrible places,” one patient reported. “Once someone framed it in a different light, I took back the power.”

Get oncology nursing guides to the most common genetic disorders associated with a higher risk for cancer, and learn more about hereditary cancer genetics by listening to the Oncology Nursing Podcast Episode 56 on your favorite podcast platform or by using the player below. Then, use ONS’s Is My Cancer Hereditary? discussion tool to talk to your patients about hereditary cancer risks, red flags, and referrals to genetics professionals.