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At-home test doesn’t replace the doctor

The Food and Drug Administration approves an at-home breast cancer test.

Posted: Mar. 8, 2018 3:13 PM
Updated: Mar. 9, 2018 8:49 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Food and Drug Administration recently approved an at-home breast cancer test.

The test is through the genetic testing company 23andme. It detects mutations of the breast cancer gene BRCA1/BRCA2, which is commonly found in Ashkenazi Jewish women.

“If somebody carries a mutation, they are at higher risk of developing breast cancer,” Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., Chief Medical Editor of Mayoclinic.org, said.

The test detects three out of 1,000 mutations of the gene in this population, not the general public.

Pruthi said at home tests can be convenient and cheaper for consumers, but it shouldn’t be the only test in staying on top of one’s health.

“My message to patients who do get these tests is that you really seek out a genetic counselor, someone who’s an expert in understanding this test,” she said. “To interpret it and understand it in the context of you as an individual and your family history. “

Continuing to seek professional medical health is important as at-home tests may become more common.

“I think there is going to be more at home testing,” Pruthi said. “It’s convenient, could be less expensive…which is fine as long as... the consumer seeks the counseling around what to do with that information.”

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