ASCO Offers Recommendations on Taking a Family Cancer History — Physician’s First Watch
ASCO Offers Recommendations on Taking a Family Cancer History
By Joe Elia
Patients with cancer should have a family cancer history taken at the initial visit to guide therapy and referrals for genetic counseling, and evaluate risks for additional cancers, according to a statement from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The recommendations appear in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
At a minimum, the history should cover both first-degree relatives (siblings, parents, and children) and second-degree relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and half-siblings). Ethnicity should be recorded, as well as the age at diagnosis and primary tumor type for the affected relatives. The history should be reviewed periodically.
The statement acknowledges that the process is time-consuming, "and it is not clear how best to bill for this service." It recommends clarification of billing policies, because concern about adequate reimbursement "presents a barrier to the provision of preventive services, such as counseling for inherited risk."