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What do you think of DNA testing for all women?

Posted by on Apr. 10, 2015 at 12:01 PM
  • 10 Replies

Breast Cancer Breakthrough Needs Way More Attention

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With cancer, early detection is key. Recognizing risk factors plays an important proactive role. Did you know that your risk of developing breast cancer can be revealed with a DNA analysis? It's called a "polygenic risk score" and if it is approved for all women, we could be looking at a major breast cancer breakthrough. That breakthrough is in prevention.

There are currently far too many women in life right now who have or have had breast cancer. I know five women who have been diagnosed within the past four months. I also know two breast cancer survivors. And those five women who were just diagnosed will soon be as well. I can't help but wonder in fear if there are more women I know who right now have breast cancer but are unaware.

What I do know is the women who are currently battling the disease are doing so with grace and strength and the knowledge that they will beat it. Because they will. And I also know that more needs to be done. That is why this DNA analysis is necessary for all women. Right now, the DNA testing is available only for those sent to genetic screening due to a family history of breast cancer. I think this should be part of routine testing. Montserrat Garcia-Closas, one of the leaders in the study of genetic testing and professor of epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said:

This type of testing could fit alongside other standard risk measures, such as family history and body mass index, to improve our ability to target the best preventive treatments and advice to those women most likely to benefit from them.

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Senior science communications manager at Cancer Research UK, Nell Barrie added:

This study shows how the genetic map of breast cancer that scientists have been building up over the years might be used to identify women most at risk, so we can take steps to reduce their chances of developing the disease or catch it at the earliest possible stage.

This testing exists. The information is out there -- it is in our bodies. We have to use the testing to stop cancer. We need to open up the conversation about this -- get our doctors involved, make sure our insurance companies are on board, and make this testing part of screening so that five more women I know -- that you know -- do not get breast cancer, or they are able to stop it before it metastasizes so there are more stories of remission.

What do you think of DNA testing for all women?

by on Apr. 10, 2015 at 12:01 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:15 PM
2 moms liked this

Should it be mandatory to test? No. But I do think that being more vocal about the fact that testing exists is a great idea, and it should be readily available (ie, inexpensive and easy to get).

by on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:18 PM
Mandatory? Dog no.

Also, people get breast cancer without that gene anomaly.
by Bronze Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:41 PM

I qualified for the genetic testing because my mother had colon cancer.(It's not JUST Breast cancer, I believe it is 5 cancers they look for in family history)but I haven't done it...yet. I'm still considering it. The genetic markers do not mean you will definitely get(or not get) cancer. Honestly, my family medical history has cancer every which way so if I happen to die from something OTHER than cancer I'll be shocked. I don't know that in my case it would be helpful because it's not like I will premptively remove my colon anyway. Not sure I want to know if I end up in the same boat as my mom and they'll be doing screening colonoscopies anyway. I think it may unneccessarily scare people that don't need the added stress.

by New Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:42 PM

Quoting username123: Mandatory? Dog no.

Also, people get breast cancer without that gene anomaly.
by on Apr. 10, 2015 at 5:10 PM
I think it should be men and women. Though women are more likely to get breast cancer, men are less likely to have an early diagnosis.
by Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 5:44 PM
I've had DNA testing done because I was doing IVF. It wasn't something I would have done on my own..
by Mom 2 Pitbulls on Apr. 10, 2015 at 8:40 PM
Both my parents are deceased from colon cancer and my sister is a breast cancer survivor. If this test is something that will help in women being more proactive, I'm all for it.
by Emerald Member on Apr. 11, 2015 at 9:21 PM

According to the komen site, 5 - 10% of women have mutated genes that can lead to breast cancer. I wondered why not test all women. The komen site says this

Although testing for a BRCA1/2 gene mutation just requires a blood test, the risks and benefits should be considered before testing. There are potential physical, emotional and financial impacts of knowing your genetic status. Thus, testing for a BRCA1/2 mutation is recommended only for people who fall into one of the categories listed above."

by Platinum Member on Apr. 11, 2015 at 11:30 PM

I agree with it being available to all women, but don't think it should be mandatory.

by Member on Apr. 12, 2015 at 12:12 AM

I think it's a great idea for those who choose to have it done. Ive heard of this, just wasn't aware that we could request it.  Highly unlikely they'll be open to giving it to anyone who would ask for it though. 

I basically had to beg for a biopsy on the palpable lump in my breast that didn't show on mammogram or u/s, and later I started having milky, almost clear discharge and pain in only that breast. (Most Drs insist that BC isn't painful, but after all my research, most patients had to lie to their Drs and say it didn't hurt just to get them to listen)  They didn't want to biopsy because I'm only 31 and have no immediate family history of BC although both my parents have had other types of cancer and two of my aunts have had BC.  They told me my follow up is to have another mammogram in 9 years when I'm 40.

I'll find out Friday whether I have breast cancer or not. 

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