The pros and cons of genetic testing

Companies nationwide are introducing multi-gene testing

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – When genetic testing was introduced, doctors examined a couple of gene mutations proven to increase a patient’s risk of cancer. From there, they’d offer preventative care, like screenings, medicine, and even surgery.

Last year’s ruling by the Supreme Court struck down key patents for those two genes doctors were familiar with. Now, companies nationwide are introducing multi-gene testing, which can examine 30 genes at once.

However, experts say these tests aren’t always accurate, which is why patients should be careful. According to Dr. Grace Macari-Judson, the Chair at Baystate Health Breast Network, “Meet with trained genetic counselors and trained physicians that understand the results of these tests. What we don’t want is people having unnecessary preventative surgeries when their risks may or may not have been interpreted appropriately.”

Patients with genetic mutations don’t always develop cancer. Nearly 1 million people are expected to use genetic testing within the next year; costing between $15 hundred to $4 thousand per person, which only some insurance companies cover.

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