BFOR Study for Genetic Testing

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

JUNE 04, 2018

I have written recently about national efforts to educate adults of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage of the importance of genetic testing. Genetic Testing and the Jewish Community is the topic of my blog of May 24th:

This independent privately-funded study is led by a team of nationally known cancer genetic experts, including Dr. Nadine Tung of BIDMC.:  She said: “BRCA genetic testing has been available for more than 20 years. Although we know it can save lives, the significant majority of those at risk have not been screened. We hope that BFOR will show that a web-based system can help to make testing more accessible. This will enable more people to benefit from their genetic information and take appropriate action to safeguard their health.”

What is different about this study than other standard means of providing genetic testing? Interested people will be able to register online, complete an online education module, sign informed consent and other necessary forms electronically, and arrange for bloods to be drawn at facilities in their own communities. The initial pilot study hopes to recruit 1000 people from Boston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.

Unlike other at-home genetic testing kits, BFOR participants will learn their results from a genetics expert or from their PCP. They will be told about any necessary follow-up and given information about resources and support services.

From my perspective, this is a terrific example of the marriage of technology and patient-focused care. It will simplify the logistics while maintaining a clear focus on the patient’s needs and quality biopsychosocial care.

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