ASCO's Efforts in Cancer Genetics

Approximately 5-10% of newly diagnosed cancers are genetically inherited. ASCO has a broad set of initiatives designed to improve the quality of preventive and therapeutic care for patients with cancer, and family members who are at hereditary risk for cancer. 

ASCO’s goals in cancer genetics include:

  • Developing an oncology workforce capable of identifying and caring for people at increased genetic risk of cancer
  • Advancing and expand access to care provided to patients and families affected by hereditary cancer syndromes

Continued Initiatives to Improve Care for Patients

ASCO’s initiatives in cancer genetics began more than a decade ago. These initiatives have resulted in important educational offerings and policy recommendations to improve the quality of both preventive and therapeutic oncologic care for patients with cancer and their families at hereditary risk for cancer. Several trends expected over the coming years will require continued ASCO initiatives in this area. These trends include increased protections of genetic privacy, decreasing costs of molecular genetic testing technologies, the emergence of low penetrance and pharmacogenetic risk markers, and the increasing demand for cancer genetic services.

Currently, ASCO is focused on the following areas:

  • Provider Education: development of education initiatives to increase oncologists’ core knowledge about:
    • Hereditary cancer susceptibility syndromes
    • Methods of cancer risk assessment and risk management
    • Awareness of novel targets and ideas (i.e. pharmacogenetics)
  • Physician Tools and Resources: to support oncologists in integrating hereditary cancer risk assessment into clinical practice and to ensure that adequate reimbursement is available for these services
  • QOPI Measures: development and revision of family history and genetic counseling measures for integration into QOPI

ASCO Hereditary Cancer Genetics Toolkit

As an accompaniment to the educational opportunities and guidance ASCO offers on hereditary risk assessment and management, ASCO has developed a genetics online toolkit. This toolkit provides oncology professionals with the tools and resources to assist them in effectively integrating hereditary cancer risk assessment into practice.

Additional Resources