What stops some women from getting tested for the BRCA gene mutations?
Women with breast cancer who are at high risk for having a BRCA mutation that raises cancer risk often don’t get genetic testing, or even a chance to speak with a genetic counselor who’d help them weigh the necessity of such a test, a study finds.
Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and women with close relatives who have had those cancers are considered at higher risk of having BRCA mutations themselves. Both the National Cancer Institute and the United States Preventative Task Force recommend that those patients talk to a genetic counselor about whether or not to get the BRCA test.
But the study that surveyed newly diagnosed breast cancer patients found that while 80.9 percent of high-risk patients wanted testing, only 39.6 percent had had a counseling session, and 50.9 percent had a genetic test. The test results could help guide treatment, as well as future efforts to prevent more cancer.
When asked why they didn’t get tested, the majority of the 773 high-risk patients said it was because their doctor didn’t recommend it to them. Just 13.7 percent of them said the test was too expensive, and 10.7 percent said they didn’t want it. The researchers say this suggests a disconnect between oncologist and patient, whether it be assessing BRCA risk isn’t on the physician’s radar, or that they just don’t find it important. The study surveyed 2,529 women overall.
Read full article: Women With Breast Cancer Miss Out On Recommended Genetic Testing
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