GENES AND BREAST CANCER
ANCHOR LEAD: DOES GENETIC TESTING ADD ANYTHING TO HOW BREAST CANCER IS TREATED?
The FDA has just approved a genetic test to assess the risk of recurrence of breast cancer in women who’ve been treated for the disease. This is the first test of its kind to seek and receive such approval. Does it herald a new era? Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, says the jury is still out.
PARK: Right now, we’re not 100% sure of how helpful or how useful they are. Nothing substitutes for an oncologist’s good clinical judgment, with known parameters that we do know are absolute predictors or known prognosticators of a woman’s breast cancer. All of this information has to be used together, to really make an informed decision with doctor and patient, as far as need for additional therapies and trying to predict recurrence or not. And I would also caution that because these are still at an experimental stage they are going to be paid out of pocket and they are several thousand dollars each. :31
So talk with your doctor if you’re considering this test. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.