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Slightly Larger Pool

New guidelines say that more women may benefit from genetic testing for hereditary breast or ovarian cancer, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In a recommendation released yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the US Preventive Services Task Force says that women with a personal or family history of breast, ovarian, tubal, or peritoneal cancer or who have ancestry associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations should undergo risk assessment and, if indicated, genetic counseling and testing. This, CNN notes, widens the screening field to include women who have had cancer already.

Screening women who've had cancer— and already know they might be at a higher risk of developing another cancer — for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation could inform them about their risk of developing tumors in other tissues as well as give insight into the risk other family members might have, the LA Times adds.

"It's important to test those people now," Carol Mangione an internal medicine specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and taskforce member, tells the LA Times. "We need to get the word out to primary care doctors to do this assessment and to make the referrals."