Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment


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Ob-gyns play a crucial role as primary care providers for women and can determine which patients warrant cancer risk assessment. A hereditary cancer risk assessment is the key to identifying patients and families who may be at increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. This assessment should be performed by ob-gyns or other obstetric-gynecologic providers and should be updated regularly.

If a hereditary cancer risk assessment suggests an increased risk of a hereditary cancer syndrome, referral to a specialist in cancer genetics or a health care provider with expertise in genetics is recommended for expanded gathering of family history information, risk assessment, education, and counseling, which may lead to genetic testing. (ACOG Committee Opinion #634, June 2015; reaffirmed 2017)

ACOG District II’s grand rounds offer foundational knowledge of cancer genetics and hereditary cancer syndromes and helps to answer the following questions:

  • What is the ob-gyn’s role in risk assessment?
  • Who gets referred to a genetics specialist?
  • How do you make a referral?
  • What happens in cancer genetics consultations and counseling?
  • What happens in genetic test selection and result interpretation?
  • What are the long-term clinical management issues?

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 Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment - Slide Deck



Learning Objectives

  1.  To provide an overview of relevant hereditary cancer syndromes
  2. To encourage ob-gyns to obtain a thorough family history
  3. To educate ob-gyns about available risk assessment strategies for the detection of patients at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes as set forth in current guidelines
  4. To inform ob-gyns about the spectrum of available genetic tests, the content of genetics consultations, and the meaning and implications of genetic test results
  5. To guide ob-gyns about when to refer to a genetics professional, gynecologic oncologist, and/or other specialists as needed


This clinical education video is part of District II’s Focus on Female Cancers initiative and has been made possible through educational grant funding from Myriad Genetics, Inc. The scientific content within this presentation was developed independently by the ACOG District II Cancer Genetics Workgroup. ACOG District II would like to thank its Focus on Female Cancers Task Force, chaired by Eva Chalas, MD, FACS, FACOG and the Cancer Genetics Workgroup for their time and expertise spent producing this clinical content.