New telementoring program seeks to improve quality of care for breast cancer patients

A new program led by The University of Kansas Cancer Center seeks to improve community oncology providers' knowledge of genetic testing in breast cancer patients, as well as provide tools to allow genetic counseling and testing to be incorporated in their clinical practice. Called "ePOST BC" (Efficacy of Point of Service Testing in Breast Cancer), the program is based on the Project ECHO model, which links specialists at academic institutions with primary care clinicians in local communities.

According to principal investigators Jennifer Klemp, PhD, MPH, and Lauren Nye, MD, conducting germline genetic testing in those with breast cancer can help determine optimal treatment and prevention strategies.

With the availability of next-generation sequencing, we have access to convenient and low-cost genetic testing. The majority of breast cancer patients meeting testing criteria have not been tested, and this burden will continue to grow."

Dr. Jennifer Klemp

Dr. Klemp added that discrepancies in testing often exist in rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, such as those throughout Kansas. Barriers to genetic testing include lack of access to genetic experts, high drop-out rate for those referred to genetic counseling, patient anxiety and low priority views of testing.

Nine community-based practices that are part of KU Cancer Center and/or the Midwest Cancer Alliance have registered with the program. Monthly mentoring sessions take place via Zoom or over the phone.

The goal is to achieve a 50% cancer genetic testing rate in eligible patients. Through this program we hope to identify the key elements that are sustainable and applicable for widespread adaptation of point-of-service genetic testing."

Dr. Lauren Nye

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