Course Description

Hereditary Cancer Testing was designed to educate lay professional audiences with no genetics background about implementing hereditary cancer testing in the clinic. This course is for:

  • Physicians, nurses and other health care providers in family/internal medicine and oncology
  • Leaders in hospitals and healthcare systems
  • Research and development teams in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology
  • Business and sales professionals in the molecular diagnostics space and areas that support this space
  • Health IT companies developing tools to manage genetic information
  • Insurance companies who want to understand how to value hereditary cancer tests


Learn how to implement and scale hereditary cancer testing across your practice 

Giving patients the best care possible means knowing about the latest tools and technologies for diagnosing and treating disease and being able to evaluate and use them in practice. Our course covers the following topics:

Taking a cancer family history

Many providers struggle capturing an accurate cancer family history. Learn about what key features to look for, common misconceptions and tools for having your patients collect their own family history.

Who should have cancer genetic testing

Hereditary breast/ovarian cancer and Lynch syndrome (colorectal) are two of the most common, actionable cancer syndromes where excellent genetic tests are available. Learn to recognize patients in your practice who might benefit from genetic testing for hereditary cancers.

Cancer genetic case studies

What are some of the more common scenarios where genetic testing is used? We’ll discuss common cases that you’re likely to encounter in your practice.

Managing patients undergoing genetic testing

What are the best sources of information for managing my patients through the genetic testing process? What is the role of a genetic counselor and how do I find one?

Clinical validity of hereditary cancer tests

Most people assume that larger gene panels are better than smaller ones, but not all genes on large hereditary cancer testing panels are backed by strong evidence of association with disease. Moreover, some genes are not as predictive as others. Learn about the clinical validity of different cancer genes found on popular gene panel tests.

Analytical validity of genetic tests

Next-gen sequencing (NGS) is used by most labs for hereditary cancer gene testing, but NGS doesn’t detect all relevant variants. Learn why it’s important to consider the laboratory analysis method when evaluating genetic tests.

Assessing the pathogenicity of variants

Not all variants in disease genes are pathogenic, or disease-causing. Learn how most labs interpret variants for pathogenicity and why variants of uncertain significance are so undesirable.

Scope and selection of hereditary cancer tests

Dozens of labs offer dozens of hereditary cancer testing products. Why are there so many and what is the difference? How do you select the test that’s right for your patient?

Interpreting genetic test reports

There are some common misinterpretations of genetic test results that can actually harm your patient. Learn to interpret genetic test results correctly and avoid putting your patient at risk.

Selecting a genetic testing lab

Dozens of labs offer genetic testing, so choosing a lab can be a daunting task. Learn what considerations go into selecting a testing laboratory and who are some of the labs currently offering cancer genetic testing.

About the course

Hereditary Cancer Testing consists of the following:

  • An introduction plus ten short didactic videos (total watch time ~1 hour) available to watch on-demand
  • Optional hands-on exercises (~30 min)
  • An active discussion forum
  • A community of like-minded professionals with opportunities for ongoing engagement

Please note: We recommend that students taking the Hereditary Cancer Testing course have a basic understanding of human genetics before enrolling. If you don’t have a background in genetics – or if you want a quick refresher -  we offer two free online courses to bring you up to speed: PM101: Human Genomics (~30 min) and PM102: Genes, Heredity and Disease (~40 min).


The information provided through this course is for educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.

All materials are copyrighted. Republication or redistribution of PMA content is prohibited without prior written consent. PMA shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Instructor

Founder, Precision Medicine Advisors and Adjunct Associate Professor, Duke University

Jeanette McCarthy, PhD

Jeanette McCarthy is a genome scientist and leading educator in the field of precision medicine. She spent the early part of her career in industry at Millennium Pharmaceuticals before transitioning to academia. She currently holds adjunct faculty positions at Duke University and UCSF and teaches Genomic and Precision Medicine in the UC system and online. In 2014 she helped launch the first consumer-facing magazine in this field, Genome, where she served as editor-in-chief. She has been designing and delivering custom workshops and courses to international audiences of health care providers, consumers and stakeholders for years and recently co-authored a new book from McGraw Hill Education, Precision Medicine: A Guide to Genomics in Clinical Practice.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Videos on demand

    • Pre-course Survey

    • Hereditary Cancer Testing - Introduction (7:05)

      FREE PREVIEW
    • Taking a Cancer Family History (5:04)

    • Who Should Have Cancer Genetic Testing (6:38)

    • Cancer Genetic Case Studies (4:06)

    • Managing Patients Who Have Genetic Testing (3:13)

    • Clinical Validity of Hereditary Cancer Tests (6:00)

    • Analytical Validity of Genetic Tests (5:03)

    • Assessing the Pathogenicity of Variants (7:19)

    • Scope and Selection of Hereditary Cancer Tests (5:53)

    • Interpreting Genetic Test Reports (3:54)

    • Selecting a Genetic Testing Laboratory (5:22)

  • 2

    Resources

    • Phosphorus sample test report (positive cancer)

    • Myriad sample test report (BRCA1 positive)

    • Invitae sample test report (positive cancer)

    • Color sample test report (positive cancer)

    • Ambry sample test report (BRCA 2 positive)

    • Additional Resources

    • Slides to download_full size

    • Slides to download_3 per page

Reviews

5 star rating

Excellent course

Fátima Rodríguez Álvarez

I thank the creators and organizers for this excellent course

I thank the creators and organizers for this excellent course

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5 star rating

Excellent, thoroughly enjoyed!

Kimberly Coleridge

I thoroughly enjoyed taking this course. I already order testing regularly, and It was interesting to know that it might not be a smart idea to order the fu...

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I thoroughly enjoyed taking this course. I already order testing regularly, and It was interesting to know that it might not be a smart idea to order the full customNext Cancer panel from Ambry, or the Multi Cancer Panel from Invitae. I was always thinking anything they do find is good information for the patient and their family even if we don't have all of the answers now. Most insurance covers for our patients so we typically order 80 genes on all patients. Thank you for offering this. I have recommended about 10 of our volunteers who are aspiring genetic counselors to take this test. :-) Kindest Regards, Kim

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5 star rating

Kelli Fee-Schroeder

5 star rating

Alexa Bancroft

5 star rating

Excellent!

Lisa Brown

5 star rating

Shilpa Kamble

5 star rating

Vanessa Gonzalez-Covarrubias

5 star rating

Ana Ramallo Alcover

It is a really helpful course. Wonderful explanations, adequate amount of information for non geneticists willing to implement genetic cancer testing in thei...

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It is a really helpful course. Wonderful explanations, adequate amount of information for non geneticists willing to implement genetic cancer testing in their practice. Thank you very much!

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5 star rating

Odinaka Ani

5 star rating

Hereditary Cancer Testing

Sonia Margarit

Excellent! The material was very easy to follow and understand, just what clinicians need to know.

Excellent! The material was very easy to follow and understand, just what clinicians need to know.

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5 star rating

Hereditary Cancer Testing

Leslie Darmofal

Outstanding and to the point!

Outstanding and to the point!

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5 star rating

Diana Fauss

Very well spoken and presented. However, several typos and misspelled words early in the presentation.

Very well spoken and presented. However, several typos and misspelled words early in the presentation.

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4 star rating

Bency Shajan

Great and interested topic. presented well.

Great and interested topic. presented well.

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3 star rating

Interesting content

Maegen Hahn

The presentation provided relevant information. I appreciated the content discussed. However, there were slides that had glitches. The glitches were severe e...

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The presentation provided relevant information. I appreciated the content discussed. However, there were slides that had glitches. The glitches were severe enough that I had to refresh the pages several different times.

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