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January 2023
Naama Hermann MD, Pnina Mor CNM PhD, Orit Kaidar-Person MD, Rinat Bernstein-Molho MD, Mali Brodsky RN MSc, Dana Madorsky Feldman MD, Anath A. Flugelman MD MPH MA, Hadar Aboody Nevo MD, Danna Meshoulam Avital MD, Miri Sklair-Levy MD, Eitan Friedman MD PhD, Tanir M. Allweis MD

Background: Population screening for the BRCA mutations in Ashkenazi Jewish women was recently implemented in Israel and is expected to lead to a 10-fold increase in the diagnosis of asymptomatic carriers. Performing the screening follow-up within multidisciplinary dedicated clinics for carriers is recommended for early detection and risk reduction.

Objectives: To determine the availability, capacity, and practices of dedicated screening clinic for BRCA carriers in Israel.

Methods: A telephone-based survey of all public hospitals in Israel was conducted October 2020 to August 2021 to determine whether they had a dedicated clinic. Dedicated clinics were defined as multidisciplinary screening clinics offering at least breast and gynecological screening and risk reducing services on site. The clinic director or nurse navigator answered a questionnaire about screening practices followed by a semi-structured interview.

Results: Of the ten dedicated BRCA clinics found in Israel, nine participated. Approximately 4500 BRCA carriers are currently being followed. No specialized clinics are available in the southern district or in the northernmost half of the northern district of Israel, leading to a disparity between periphery and center. Screening recommendations, although asserted as adhering to international guidelines, vary among clinics including age at initiating of clinical exam, use of adjunct imaging modalities, and follow-up during lactation and after risk reducing surgery.

Conclusions: There is a suboptimal distribution of dedicated clinics for BRCA carriers in Israel. Nationally centralized attempt to create guidelines that will unify screening practices is warranted, especially considering the expected increase in demand.

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