New online breast cancer genetics referral screening tool available

The Georgia Breast Cancer Genomics Consortium has been working in unique ways to increase the identification of young women at high risk for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC). Recently, partners of the consortium targeted breast and cervical cancer programs at DeKalb and Bibb counties' health departments to rollout the new Breast Cancer Genetics Referral Screening Tool, also called B-RST. The B-RST was created by Cecelia A. Bellcross, PhD, MS, CGC; Assistant Professor;Director, Genetic Counseling Training Program; Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Human Genetics.

Found on BreastCancerGeneScreen.org, B-RST is a simple tool designed to identify high-risk women who should be referred for cancer genetic counseling about HBOC and genetic testing. While other screening tools are available, B-RST requires only a few minutes to complete, can be utilized by both consumers and health care providers, and requires no specialized training in cancer genetics to either administer or interpret.

"B-RST is a validated family history screening tool with high sensitivity, specificity, and discriminatory accuracy," said Kimberly Lewis, Genetic Services Specialist for Georgia CORE and Genetic Counselor.

Because of the high reliability of the tool, physicians, nurses, clinical research professionals and navigators are encouraged to use B-RST to identify those who would benefit from genetic testing before they incur the costs associated with it.

"This initiative is part of a program funded by a three-year $900,000 cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded to the Georgia Department of Public Health," said Georgia CORE president Nancy M. Paris.

Partners in the Georgia Breast Cancer Genomics Consortium include Emory University, Georgia CORE, Georgia State University and Morehouse School of Medicine.

In the near future, education about HBOC and administration of the tool will be introduced in other counties around the state. If you, or your institution, are interested in learning more about the application of this tool in the identification of young women at risk for HBOC, please email Kimberly Lewis at KLewis@georgiacore.org.