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Effects of a cancer genetics education programme on clinician knowledge and practice

Abstract

Background: Many clinicians lack adequate knowledge about emerging standards of care related to genetic cancer risk assessment and the features of hereditary cancer needed to identify patients at risk.

Objective: To determine how a clinical cancer genetics education programme for community based clinicians affected participant knowledge and changed clinical practice.

Methods: The effects of the programme on participant knowledge and changes in clinical practice were measured through pre and post session knowledge questionnaires completed by 710 participants and practice impact surveys completed after one year by 69 out of 114 eligible annual conference participants sampled.

Results: Respondents showed a 40% average increase in specific cancer genetics knowledge. Respondents to the post course survey reported that they used course information and materials to counsel and refer patients for hereditary cancer risk assessment (77%), shared course information with other clinicians (83%), and wanted additional cancer genetics education (80%).

Conclusions: There was a significant immediate gain in cancer genetics knowledge among participants in a targeted outreach programme, and subset analysis indicated a positive long term effect on clinical practice. Clinician education that incorporates evidence based content and case based learning should lead to better identification and care of individuals with increased cancer risk.

  • CGEP, City of Hope Cancer Genetics Education Program
  • clinical cancer genetics
  • hereditary cancer
  • physician education

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