At-home genetic test for breast cancer: Worthwhile?

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At-home genetic test for breast cancer: Worthwhile?

March 23, 2018

Dr. Mary-Claire King, the UW Medicine scientist who discovered the BRCA-1 gene mutation, weighs in.

Dr. Mary-Claire King, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, sent 400 DNA samples to Color Genomics to see if its at-home saliva test could detect mutations.  When the responses came back, all 400 samples were characterized correctly, she said in an interview with KIRO TV in Seattle.  The segment was run on other  broadcast affiliates.

Every woman over 30 – even those with no family history of breast cancer – should get a test for gene mutations, she suggested.

"The most common misconception about testing for inherited risk of breast cancer is that only women with a severe family history of breast cancer need to worry about it.  Because men have genes, too, and a mutation that increases one's chances of breast or ovarian cancer can be passed from a father who will remain unaffected as frequently as from a mother," King said.