Hereditary cancer risk is more
common than we thought

Historical data indicated 1 in 12 women were at risk for hereditary cancer. New data suggest we were significantly underestimating this risk. Find out more about the new data here.

One study looking at data from a small community practice found that 1 in 4 women met NCCN criteria for genetic testing.1,2 This new finding contradicted historical data indicating 1 in 12 individuals have a family history consistent with hereditary cancer.3

We sought to challenge this new claim using a much larger and more diverse population.

What did we find?

  • 1 in 4 women met NCCN criteria for hereditary cancer genetic testing.4
  • Using a population (n~9,700) that is much larger (>2x the size) and more diverse (nationwide recruitment), this new claim is better supported.4
With more women at risk, increased education and tools to identify them is required to help providers practice in compliance with ACOG Practice Guideline 634.5
This research was presented at the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Download the poster


  1. DeFrancesco MS, et al. Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment and Genetic Testing in the Community-Practice Setting. Cancer: Clinical Practice and Quality 2018;132(5):1121-1129.
  2. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian (Version 2.2019) and Colorectal (Version 1.2018). Available from:
  3. Scheuner MT, et al. Population prevalence of familial cancer and common hereditary cancer syndromes. The 2005 California Health Interview Survey. Genet Med. 2010;12(11):726-35).
  4. Dohany L, et al. Hereditary cancer risk assessment using a chatbot in women presenting to obstetrics and gynecology practices across the US. Poster presented at San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) 2019. San Antonio, Texas.
  5. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 634. Hereditary cancer syndromes and risk assessment. Obstet Gynecol 2015: 125:1538-43.