Online tool helps identify cancer risk

Women can now use an online tool to assess their risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer based on their family history, MiNDFOOD reports.

The National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre has developed the initiative for use by doctors in conjunction with their patients.

Women will be asked to answer up to eight questions about their family history in order to identify if they should be referred for further assessment.

The centre’s chief executive, Helen Zorbas, says most women will be reassured they are not at high risk of developing the diseases.

“Up to 5 per cent of breast cancers and up to 10 per cent of ovarian cancers involve the inheritance of a mutated gene,” she said.

“For women who may be at potentially high risk it’s really important that they have the information and the appropriate referrals.”

Dr Zorbas says the initiative helps to simplify a difficult process.

“The assessment of risk based on family history is really a very complex algorithm and requires a lot of information to be assessed, and the tool really is a way of simplifying that process,” she said.

2010 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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