From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

July 25, 2023

Improving patients’ quality care is the driving force of OHC. Nationally, more than 300,000 patients are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, with one-third of these estimated to be eligible for genetic testing following the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. Unfortunately, only 35% of eligible patients are referred for genetic counseling.

OHC recognized this deficiency in screening between the NCCN guidelines and reality and instituted a quality improvement project to address the situation. Dr. Nicole Melchior, OHC breast surgeon, details how genetics plays into the treatment of cancer, “Screening every newly diagnosed breast cancer patient for genetic counseling eligibility offers both the patient and their physician valuable additional information.”  Upon implementing the program, OHC saw that when all new breast cancer patients were screened for genetic testing eligibility, over 50% of patients were indeed eligible to be referred. Of those patients who met the criteria, over 90% were referred to a genetic specialist, increasing the number of eligible patients referred from 35% nationally to 92.7% within OHC, allowing doctors to “tailor the patient’s personalized plan of care, and giving us more information to help that patient fight cancer.”

“The decision to pursue genetic testing is a personal one but the results of genetic testing can influence the patients’ plan of care,” states OHC APP and Genetic Specialist, Liz Burneka. “Implementing these screening protocols directly impacts the care the patients receive from OHC,” continues Ms. Burneka. “For those patients who are eligible, personalized treatment can lead to longer remission, minimal recurrence, and even extending their lives. It’s an incredibly personal decision, with very personal results.”

OHC believes in providing patients with everything they need to fight cancer and we are always willing to share the results of our studies to other practices across the nation to continue the fight. We are pleased to announce this quality improvement project, “Integration of Genetic Testing and Counseling in Patients With Breast Cancer in a Large, Multisite Community-Based Practice,” was recently published in the Journal of Oncology Practice. “Being recognized as a best practice that critically or significantly impacts the well-being of our breast cancer patients was rewarding,” states OHC Director of Quality & Compliance, Molly Mendenhall. By receiving the recognition of our peers in the field, we are honored to watch our project be implemented nationally.

Our doctors and staff are always looking for new ways to improve our approach to fighting and eradicating cancer. The more we participate in studies, the better our knowledge of how to heal our patients quickly and efficiently, and at the end of the day, our patients are the most important part of our jobs. Be sure you are following OHC’s journey so you are in the know on how we are making history in the cancer fight.

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