Debate grows over genetic testing for breast, ovarian cancers

About 1 in 600 women carry a mutation in these genes

(WJAR) – Most breast cancers are diagnosed through a mammogram. In some cases, a woman finds the lump first.

However, what if you could know in advance you are at high risk of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer and take steps to reduce the risk?

Last month, the researcher who discovered the BRCA 1 gene, the gene when mutated increases a woman’s risk, advocated for widespread screening of the gene and for mutations in the BRCA 2 gene.

“You could do it on a population basis. It’s economically feasible,” said Dr. Robert Legare, the medical director of Women and Infants’ Cancer Risk Assessment and Prevention Program.

Legare questions, though, whether widespread screening is ready for prime time. “I’m not of the mind today that all women should be tested for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, though it’s a moving target,” he said.

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