Legal liabilities associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancers

Jennifer M.P. Neff, Gwyn Richardson, John Y. Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this clinical alert article is to bring attention to possible legal pitfalls associated with diagnosing and treating patients with hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. STUDY DESIGN: We searched LexisNexis and Westlaw search engines, which are commercial legal search engines used by law students, attorneys, parale-gals, and judges. Legal cases, law reviews, and newspaper articles were reviewed using LexisNexis and Westlaw search engines. In preparation for this review, the fol-lowing keywords were used: BRCA testing, hereditary cancer, prophylactic oophorectomy, prophylactic mastec-tomy, and genetic testing. This is an emerging area of professional liability; accordingly, few authorities exist at this time. Through the search, a total of 5 legal cases were identified. RESULTS: The results of this review show that physicians are already held accountable for genetic testing and related guidelines. Thus, it is in the best interest of the prudent physician to be aware of these guidelines and how to apply them in a way that is protective against malpractice. CONCLUSION: As genetic testing continues to grow and impact medical decision-making, physicians need to be aware of testing guidelines and how to appropri-ately apply testing in general practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-230
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine
Volume65
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Genetic testing
  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syn-drome
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prophylactic mastectomy
  • Prophylactic oophorecto-my

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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