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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice 1/2017

Hereditary gynaecologic cancers in Nepal: a proposed model of care to serve high risk populations in developing countries

Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice > Ausgabe 1/2017
Hanoon P. Pokharel, Neville F. Hacker, Lesley Andrews



Endometrial, ovarian and breast cancers are paradigms for global health disparity. Women living in the developing world continue to present in later stages of disease and have fewer options for treatment than those in developed countries. Risk reducing surgery is of proven benefit for women at high risk of gynaecological cancer. There is no specific model for identification and management of such women in the developing world.


We have integrated data from our published audit of a major gynaecological oncology centre at Royal Hospital for Women in Australia, with data from our survey and a focus group discussion of Nepalese gynaecological health care professionals regarding genetic testing, and findings from the literature. These data have been used to identify current barriers to multidisciplinary gynaecological oncology care in developing nations, and to develop a model to integrate hereditary cancer services into cancer care in Nepal, as a paradigm for other developing nations.


The ability to identify women with hereditary gynaecological cancer in developing nations is influenced by their late presentation (if active management is declined or not appropriate), limited access to specialised services and cultural and financial barriers. In order to include genetic assessment in multidisciplinary gynaecological cancer care, education needs to be provided to all levels of health care providers to enable reporting of family history, and appropriate ordering of investigations. Training of genetic counsellors is needed to assist in the interpretation of results and extending care to unaffected at-risk relatives. Novel approaches will be required to overcome geographic and financial barriers, including mainstreaming of genetic testing, telephone counselling, use of mouth swabs and utilisation of international laboratories.


Women in Nepal have yet to receive benefits from the advances in early cancer diagnosis and management. There is a potential of extending the benefits of hereditary cancer diagnosis in Nepal due to the rapid fall in the cost of genetic testing and the ability to collect DNA from a buccal swab through appropriate training of the gynaecological carers.
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