News Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Only 53 percent of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who were at high risk of carrying a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation – based on age, diagnosis, and family history of breast or ovarian cancer – reported that their doctors urged them to be tested for the genes, according to a research team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The findings, which will be presented (Presentation #1358) during the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2013, were drawn from surveys completed by 2,258 women between 18 and 64 who were diagnosed with breast cancer in Pennsylvanian in 2007. While physician recommendations for genetic testing appeared to be targeted at the proper group of patients – just 9 percent of women at low risk of having one of the mutated genes were advised to undergo testing – the finding that such a large portion of high-risk women did not receive a testing recommendation underscores the need to improve provider education about he utility and availability of testing. Among women at high risk of mutation, the analysis found that those who were older, had lower income, and were employed were less likely to have received a recommendation for testing.

The study will be presented by Anne Marie McCarthy, PhD, in the Behavioral and Social Science in Cancer Prevention Poster Research Poster Session, Hall A-C, Poster Section 11, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, DC 20001, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Monday, April 8, 2013.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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