Who needs genetic testing for breast cancer?

October 3, 2018, The North American Menopause Society
breast cancer
Mammograms showing a normal breast (left) and a breast with cancer (right). Credit: Public Domain

Advances are regularly being made in cancer genetics. But, if patients aren't screened and diagnosed early enough, the advances can't save lives. A presentation at The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in San Diego, October 3-6, will review the various genetic testing options for breast cancer, as well as profile those who should be tested.

It is estimated that 12-14% of breast cancers are related to hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes. That means nearly 35,000 cases of every year are attributable to hereditary risk. When breast cancer is detected early enough, women have significantly better chances of survival. Those chances increase if the probability of getting breast cancer can be decreased through the use of various preventive medications and risk-reducing surgical procedures.

In her presentation at the upcoming NAMS Annual Meeting, Dr. Holly Pederson from the Cleveland Clinic will provide compelling data designed to encourage to be more proactive in identifying those patients most at risk and when to recommend genetic counseling and testing. She will discuss the various advances in genetic testing, including multigene panel testing, which is proving to be more effective and cost-efficient, as well as discuss emerging SNP panels and the pros and cons around direct to consumer tests.

"It is imperative that we identify those patients with a hereditary predisposition to breast cancer as early as possible" says Dr. Pederson. "If patients are concerned about the cost of , they can be reassured that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act identifies BRCA testing as a preventive service. Medicare provides coverage for affected patients with a qualifying personal history, and 97% of commercial insurers and most state Medicaid programs provide coverage for hereditary testing."

"Healthcare providers need to understand the importance of early screening and the advances being made in , making it possible to help save lives," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director.

Explore further: Team identifies genes that increase risk for triple-negative breast cancer

Related Stories

Team identifies genes that increase risk for triple-negative breast cancer

August 7, 2018
A research team led by Fergus Couch, Ph.D., a geneticist at Mayo Clinic, has identified specific genes associated with an increased risk for developing triple-negative breast cancer. Their research was published in the Journal ...

Obesity and vitamin D deficiency may indicate greater risk for breast cancer

September 19, 2018
Vitamin D is already well known for its benefits in building healthy bones. A new study supports the idea that it also may reduce cancer risk as well as breast cancer mortality, especially in women with a lower body mass ...

Surgeons have substantial impact on genetic testing in breast cancer patients who need it

July 3, 2018
For many women diagnosed with breast cancer, genetic testing can offer important information that might guide treatment choices. But studies have shown that only about half of women who could benefit receive genetic testing.

Some breast cancer patients are missing out on genetic counseling

March 12, 2018
As new genes are linked to breast cancer occurring in families and as genetic testing becomes more important in directing treatment for newly diagnosed patients, a substantial number of those at the highest risk are not getting ...

Busting myths surrounding cancer and genetic testing

April 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—While only 5 percent to 10 percent of cancers are caused by an inherited gene mutation, genetic testing may benefit people with a strong history of family cancer, an expert in genetics suggests.

Beyond BRCA: Links between breast, second primary cancer and inherited mutations

May 31, 2018
Rates of inherited mutations in genes other than BRCA1/2 are twice as high in breast cancer patients who have had a second primary cancer—including, in some cases, different types of breast cancer—compared to patients ...

Recommended for you

Sugar supplement slows tumor growth and can improve cancer treatment

November 21, 2018
Mannose sugar, a nutritional supplement, can both slow tumour growth and enhance the effects of chemotherapy in mice with multiple types of cancer.

New mechanism controlling the master cancer regulator uncovered

November 21, 2018
Who regulates the key regulator? The Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences reports online in the journal Science about a newly discovered mechanism by which RAS proteins, central to cancer ...

Researchers stop spread of cancer in mice by blocking specific molecules

November 21, 2018
Melanoma skin cancer tumors grow larger and are more likely to metastasize due to interactions between a pair of molecules, according to experiments in mice and human cells. The results may restore the potential for a type ...

'Druggable' cancer target found in pathway regulating organ size

November 20, 2018
It's known that cancer involves unchecked cell growth and that a biological pathway that regulates organ size, known at the Hippo pathway, is also involved in cancer. It's further known that a major player in this pathway, ...

A study suggests that epigenetic treatments could trigger the development of aggressive tumours

November 20, 2018
A study headed by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and published in the journal Nature Cell Biology examined whether the opening of chromatin (a complex formed by DNA bound to proteins) is the factor ...

Redefining colorectal cancer subtypes

November 20, 2018
There is a long-standing belief that colorectal cancer (CRC), which causes some 50,000 deaths in the United States each year, can be categorized into distinct molecular subtypes. In a paper published recently in the journal Genome ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.