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Adverse Events in Cancer Genetic Testing: Medical, Ethical, Legal, and Financial Implications

Brierley, Karina L. MS, CGC*; Blouch, Erica MS, CGC; Cogswell, Whitney MS, CGC; Homer, Jeanne P. MS, CGC§; Pencarinha, Debbie MS, CGC; Stanislaw, Christine L. MS, CGC; Matloff, Ellen T. MS, CGC*

doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e3182609490
Current Topics in Cancer Genetic Counseling

Cancer genetic counseling and testing are now integral services in progressive cancer care. There has been much debate over whether these services should be delivered by providers with specialized training in genetics or by all clinicians. Adverse outcomes resulting from cancer genetic counseling and testing performed by clinicians without specialization in genetics have been reported, but formal documentation is sparse. In this review, we present a series of national cases illustrating major patterns of errors in cancer genetic counseling and testing and the resulting impact on medical liability, health care costs, and the patients and their families.

From the *Cancer Genetic Counseling, Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; †Center for Cancer Risk Assessment, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; ‡Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon, GA; §Hoag Hospital, Newport Beach, CA; ∥Kingsport Hematology and Oncology, Wellmont Cancer Institute, Kingsport, TN; and ¶Department of Human Genetics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Reprints: Karina L. Brierley, MS, CGC, Cancer Genetic Counseling, Yale Cancer Center, 55 Church St, Suite 402, New Haven, CT 06510. E-mail: karina.brierley@yale.edu.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.