Doctors warn at-home DNA breast cancer test may not offer ‘full picture’


SYDNEY:TONIGHT – A WARNING FROM DOCTORS AFTER THE FDA CLEARS THE WAY FOR A GENETIC TESTING COMPANY TO OFFER OVER-THE-COUNTER BREAST CANCER SCREENING KITS. IT’S THE FIRST-EVER AT-HOME DNA TEST THAT CHECKS FOR THREE CANCER- CAUSING GENE MUTATIONS.AS KXAN MEDICAL REPORTER GIGI BARNETT EXPLAINS, DOCTORS SAY THE SCREENINGS DON’T GIVE YOU THE ENTIRE PICTURE. LAST WEEK, DOCTORS REMOVED CATRINA EDWARDS’S OVARIES.A FULL GENETIC SCREENING REVEALED SHE HAS A HIGH-RISK FOR BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCERS. AND, WHAT SHE SAW IN HER FAMILY TREE WAS FRIGHTENING. “MY DAD HAS PROSTATE CANCER. HE HAD THYROID CANCER.” // “HIS MOTHER DIED OF OVARIAN CANCER.” EDWARDS SAYS HER BREASTS MAY BE NEXT…FOR NOW SHE CLOSELY WATCHES FOR SIGNS OF THE DISEASE.BUT THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND IT ALL — HER DAUGHTER IS EXPECTING A LITTLE GIRL SOON.: “KNOWING EARLY HELPS BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS THAT THEY CAN DO TO HELP THEM AND MY DAUGTHER WILL BE ABLE TO BE PROACTIVE.”IT’S INFORMATION MANY WOMEN WILL SOON HAVE WITH A QUICK SWAB AND A FEE TO THE DNA TESTING FIRM – 23 AND ME.THE COMPANY IS SET TO OFFER RESULTS OF CANCER-CAUSING MUTATIONS FOUND ON THE BRCA 1 AND BRCA 2 GENES, THEY ARE THE BEST-KNOWN GENES LINKED TO THE DISEASE. BUT EXPERTS SAY THE OVER-THE- COUNTER TEST ONLY LOOKS AT THREE SPECIFIC SPOTS ON THOSE GENES…WHEN THERE ARE AT LEAST ONE-THOUSAND OTHER KNOWN MUTATIONS. : “IF YOU IMAGINE SPELL-CHECKING A BOOK AND YOU SAY WELL THE WORD COLOR TENDS TO BE MISPELLED. SO, WE’RE JUST GOING TO LOOK FOR COLOR THROUGH THE BOOK BUT WE’RE NOT GOING TO SPELL CHECK THE WHOLE BOOK.” TEXAS ONCOLOGY NURSE PRACTITIONER ELISABETH KING SAYS SOMETHING WILL GO MISSING. IT’S WHY SHE SAYS WOMEN NEED A COMPREHENSIVE DNA SCREENING…IN ADDITION TO THE “AT-HOME” TEST.AND…EVEN IF RESULTS COMES BACK ALL CLEAR — IT DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN THAT’S THE CASE. “ABOUT HALF THE PATIENTS WE FOLLOW FOR HIGH-RISK ACTUALLY HAVE NEGATIVE GENETIC TESTING. BUT, STILL HAVE THIS CONCERNING FAMILY HISTORY THAT WE CAN’T EXPLAIN.”NO MATTER WHO’S DOING THE SCREENING.GIGI BARNETT, KXAN NEWS. SYDNEY:DOCTORS SAY WOMEN MOST AT RISK OF DEVELOPING SUCH CANCERS FOUND ON THOSE GENES ARE OF EASTERN EUROPEAN JEWISH DESCENT.BUT, EXPERTS SAY WOMEN OF OTHER GENETIC BACKGROUNDS CAN ALSO BE AFFECTED. IN ADDITION TO SOME BREAST CANCER GENES, 23- AND-ME’S HEALTH REPORTS INCLUDE GENETIC HEALTH RISKS FOR CELIAC, LATE-ONSET ALZHEIMER’S AND PARKINSON’S DISEASES. IT ALSO LOOKS TO SEE IF YOU’RE A GENETIC CARRIER FOR MORE THAN 40 INHERITED CONDITIONS LIKE CYSTIC FIBROSIS AND HEREDITARY HEARING LOSS. SYDNEY: A BIG QUESTION FOR ANYBODY CONSIDERING THE TESTING — DO YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW IF YOU’RE AT AN INCREASED RISK FOR CERTAIN DISEASES? 23-AND-ME ENCOURAGES CUSTOMERS TO DISCUSS ANY RESULTS WITH A GENETIC COUNSELOR. SOMETHING ELSE TO CONSIDER. COULD RESULTS MAKE IT HARDER TO GET HEALTH INSURANCE? THE COMPANY’S WEBSITE POINTS TO THE “GENETIC INFORMATION NON- DISCRIMINATION ACT” – WHICH APPLIES TO EMPLOYERS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES. BUT IT DOES NOT COVER SCHOOLS, FINANCIAL LENDERS.. OR LONG-

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