Ministry of Health
Physicians, Hospitals, Clinics, Laboratories
Predictive Genetic Testing Service for Hereditary Breast, Ovarian and Colon Cancers
|The Ministry of Health and
Long-Term Care is pleased to announce the expansion of services at the Provincial Regional
Genetics Program (PRGP) to include genetic counselling and testing for patients who may
have a predisposition to hereditary breast, ovarian, and colon cancers.
Beginning April 19, 2000, predictive genetic counselling and testing will be
offered at the PRGP's nine regional centres in Downtown Toronto, North Toronto, Oshawa,
Mississauga, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Kingston and Sudbury. For patients determined to be
at increased risk of inherited cancer, services provided will include genetic counselling,
risk assessment, genetic testing and referral for follow-up services.
To assist with the implementation of this new
provincial service, the ministry will establish an Implementation Steering Committee with
the assistance of the PRGP. Criteria for selection of appropriate patients to be referred
to this service will be distributed to physicians in the near future.Information for the public will also be
developed for province wide dissemination. Accompanying this bulletin is a FACT sheet for
the public that will also be posted on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's
A Provincial Advisory Committee on Predictive Genetic Testing
Services will also be established to develop guidelines, principals and broad criteria for
the introduction of other new genetic services in the province.
Although up to 20 per cent of women in the general population have a
family history of breast cancer, less than five percent are at high risk for hereditary
breast cancer. Certain features in the family history may suggest increased risk. A
detailed family history can identify potential breast cancer gene (BRCA1 and BRCA2)
mutation carriers. Women identified as carriers have a substantially increased risk of
breast and ovarian cancer. It is also possible through genetic testing to identify
individuals at risk of developing hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) and
familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
Early detection of a person's genetic predisposition to inherited
breast, ovarian or colon cancer, can lead to medical interventions and surveillance that
will significantly reduce the risk of these people developing the disease or improve
outcomes through early diagnosis.
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