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.
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

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

This forum has been closed.
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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs