A woman’s physician ordered multi-gene panel testing due to her family history of cancer and told her that the lab had found two “errors” in the PALB2 gene. Compared to the general population, patients with a pathogenic variant in PALB2 have between a 20 percent and 58 percent higher lifetime risk of breast cancer and between a 2 percent and 10 percent higher lifetime risk for pancreatic cancer. The risks for all these cancers are even more elevated in individuals with a strong family history of these malignancies.
Because of these genetic findings, the doctor referred the patient, who was in her 60s, to a larger center for pancreatic cancer screening via ultrasound. The gastrointestinal specialist at this center noted that this patient had gotten genetic testing and referred her for genetic counseling before sending her for the ultrasound.
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