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Genetics & Genomics

Breast Cancer Prognostic Tests: Helping Patients Understand Testing Results and Their Implications

Lisa R. Miller
Edith Caroline Smith
CJON 2019, 23(5), 478-481 DOI: 10.1188/19.CJON.478-481

Breast cancer prognostic tests have become an essential component of breast cancer care. Oncology nurses play an important role in assisting patients in their understanding of and decision making regarding the use of prognostic tests in treatment planning. This article outlines the most commonly used breast cancer prognostic tests, including the individual assay’s purpose, its genomic makeup, the targeted patient population, and its prognostic and predictive abilities. Key nursing implications are discussed, highlighting how nurses can best apply knowledge of breast cancer prognostic tests to nursing practice.

AT A GLANCE

  • Oncology nurses play a significant role in educating patients on the role of prognostic tests in breast cancer care, as well as the difference between tumor testing and other types of genetic testing. 
  • It is important that oncology nurses educate patients on the purpose of tumor testing, what information the testing will provide, and how to use the information obtained from testing for treatment decisions.
  • Patients should be supported by oncology nurses through the treatment decision-making process based on the results of prognostic testing.

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