News / Health

Quest to Offer Genetic Test for Breast Cancer Risk

People walk past graffiti that aims to raise awareness of breast cancer ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Valletta, Malta, October 2013.
People walk past graffiti that aims to raise awareness of breast cancer ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Valletta, Malta, October 2013.
Reuters
Quest Diagnostics Inc. on Tuesday became the largest U.S. company to start offering gene-based tests for inherited forms of breast cancer since the U.S. Supreme Court ended Myriad Genetics Inc.'s monopoly on the tests for specific gene mutations.
 
Quest, the largest U.S. medical testing company by revenue, said its BRCAvantage tests will search for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which dramatically increase a woman's risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.
 
After a long legal battle, the U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that naturally occurring human genes could not be patented, effectively ending Myriad's stranglehold on the market for BRCA testing.
 
Myriad's BRCA tests gained worldwide attention earlier this year when Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie publicly announced she had undergone a double mastectomy after learning through the Myriad test that she carried the gene mutations and an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer without the preemptive surgery.
 
Breast cancer kills about 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization. It estimated that one in 300 to one in 500 women carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. An estimated five percent to 10 percent of female breast cancers are associated with inherited gene mutations with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations the most commonly identified cause, Quest said.
 
Despite the vast publicity surrounding Jolie's announcement and the subsequent Supreme Court ruling, a national survey of 1,460 U.S. women aged 18 and older conducted for Quest found 72 percent of respondents had never heard of the BRCA test.
 
Fifty eight percent said they would want to know if they carried the high-risk gene mutations, yet only 17 percent of those who said they were familiar with BRCA testing had discussed it with a healthcare provider, according to the survey conducted this month by Harris Interactive.
 
The size of Quest could help spread awareness along with availability of the genetic testing. The Quest BRCA tests are now available in 49 states and awaiting a state review in New York, where it is expected to be available later this year, the company said.
 
Quest has more than 2,100 centers in the United States at which patients can submit blood samples for genetic testing. The cost of the test is about $2,500, a drop from the $3,000 to $4,000 Myriad had charged for its tests.
 
Quest said it believes the vast majority of women for whom BRCAvantage testing would be appropriate will have it covered under health insurance plans.
 
“Patients need to understand their cancer risks in order to make the most informed and timeliest decisions about their health,” Jon Cohen, chief medical officer for Quest Diagnostics, said in a statement.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More