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Genetics & Genomics

Errors in Genetic Testing: Common Causes and Strategies for Prevention

Suzanne M. Mahon
CJON 2017, 21(6), 673-676 DOI: 10.1188/17.CJON.673-676

Genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes is an integral component of oncology care. Various types of common errors that occur in the genetic testing process are presented in this article with actual clinical case examples and commentary. Genetic errors are expensive and may result in poor outcomes for the patient and his or her family. Oncology nurses need to be aware of potential sources of error and advocate for comprehensive genetic care.


  • Accurate assessment of risk for developing malignancy and appropriate genetic testing can lead to improved outcomes for individuals diagnosed with cancer and their family members.
  • Credentialed genetics professionals have extensive training and experience in risk assessment, genetic test selection and interpretation, and coordination of care for the entire family.
  • Errors in genetic testing may be associated with significant financial costs and can be attributed to inadequate knowledge about the genetic testing process, as well as lack of time to complete a comprehensive assessment and coordinate care among all family members.

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