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Online Tool to Help Physicians Identify, Manage Genetic Risk for Colorectal Cancer Offered by AMA, NCHPEG

For immediate release:
July 12, 2012

CHICAGO A Web-based educational program designed to improve the primary care provider's ability to identify hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes in their patients is available from the American Medical Association (AMA) and the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics (NCHPEG). The course is available in both an enduring format and a performance improvement format.

"With rapidly developing advances in genetic and molecular medicine, physicians are seeking ways to stay up-to-date in this field to better serve their patients," said AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, M.D. "These developments have made it possible for physicians to now identify hereditary cancer syndromes by looking for specific clues in a patient's personal and family medical history. We created this educational program to help physicians identify, evaluate, communicate with and manage patients at increased risk for colorectal cancer."

Colorectal cancer affects approximately 140,000 individuals annually in the U.S. Like other cancers, it develops due to a combination of genetic, biologic and environmental factors interacting together. Approximately 5-10 percent of colorectal cancers are caused by a hereditary syndrome in which a single gene alteration conveys a high risk of colorectal and sometimes other cancers. Individuals suspected to have a hereditary cancer syndrome can sometimes be offered genetic testing to aid in the diagnosis.

"Physicians and other health providers often need information and tools to integrate genetics into their practice," said NCHPEG Executive Director Joan Scott, M.S., C.G.C. "We developed this program to allow providers to learn as they apply skills through working through cases.  They leave the program with knowledge, skills and easily accessible point-of-care tools they can use with their patients."

The enduring format of the Web-based course, "Colorectal Cancer: Are Your Patients at Increased Risk?," is divided into four interactive lessons: assessing risk, genetic testing, risk communication and counseling and screening and surveillance. Each lesson will guide the physician through a series of patient scenarios and vignettes. After completing the lessons, the physician's skills will be assessed in identifying risk for hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes. The performance improvement format includes chart abstractions and self assessment both before and after participation in the Web-based course.

The enduring format of the course has been certified for 6.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM, while participants who complete all three stages of the performance improvement format are eligible for 20.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM. Learn more about the colorectal cancer course.


Shannon O'Brien
AMA Media Relations
(312) 464-4443

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