Today the US Food and Drug Administration authorized 23andMe's genetic health risk report for three BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations most commonly found in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
Who is 23andME? They are a scientific company who sells home-testing kits for various diseases. Those who may be at Genetic Health Risk and a Carrier for certain diseases. Their reports meet FDA criteria for being scientifically and clinically valid. They take saliva samples which are processed in CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited labs to identify gene mutations. The test is on-sale for less than $100.
As a 10-year Breast Cancer Survivor, I know I paid a good penny to have my BRCA1 gene blood test completed and the Oncotype DX testing too. Oncotype DX is a commercial diagnostic test that estimates the likelihood of disease recurrence in women with early-stage hormone estrogen receptor (ER) positive only breast cancer (prognostic significance). So while I was out of pocket a few thousand dollars, I knew my results for my daughter's likelihood to get breast cancer (if it was hereditary) and my future risk of re-occurrence. Yes a huge weight lifted off my mind and now patients can basically seek over-the-counter care at fractions of the costs for self-diagnosis.
Yes, it's amazing to be able to buy an off-the-shelf product, test ourselves in the privacy of our homes but it is also scary just the same. Please read the industry articles being published today by various companies (GenomeWeb, Forbes, WebMD, BCRF, Columbia U, including 23andMe and others) and follow my prior articles including 25 Factors that Affect Breast Cancer Risk and about the BRCA gene mutations in Seven Genes towards the Cure and Counting. Continue to be the breast advocate for your own health and wellness. The stats are still high overall. Women of all races, ages and nationalities get breast cancer and other cancers too. Make sure you seek the proper guidance for your own #BreastHealthandWellness.
While milestones continue to be made, make sure you are your own Breast Advocate! Remember you are the ONE to watch because it's 1 in 8 women diagnosed each and every day with breast cancer. #1in8andYOU not simply #23andME. There may be more to it for your accurate "breast" results.
Sure strides have been made in breast cancer research but words of caution. What this means is that the report studied certain individuals who may be at increased risk of breast, ovarian or prostate cancer and who might not otherwise get genetic screening. It is a step forward with huge strides in breast cancer research to empower patients to pursue self-testing and identify gene mutations involved with DTC genetic testing, however, the 23andMe test does have caveats. The overall advice is for all patients to beware and to seek Physician consults for proper diagnosis. Don't rely on the test alone for validation of cancer. Use proper guidelines and consultations before making any rash decisions. Your best health and wellness is at stake.
All the breast!