Not Enough High-Risk Women Being Screened for BRCA1/2

Not Enough High-Risk Women Being Screened for BRCA1/2

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Many high-risk women don’t get genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, often because they aren’t advised to by their doctors, according to a research letter published in the Feb. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A total of 2,529 women with breast cancer were questioned two months after surgery. The patients were asked if they had wanted genetic testing and, if so, whether they had received it. The women ranged in risk, with 31 percent having a high risk of carrying the BRCA mutations.

Among women with the highest risk, 80.9 percent said they wanted testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. But, “only about half of them actually got the testing they should get,” study author Allison Kurian, M.D., an associate professor of medicine and of health research and policy from Stanford University’s School of Medicine in California, told HealthDay. Of the high-risk women who were not tested, 56.1 percent said their doctors did not recommend it, the authors found. Asian-Americans and older women were particularly likely to not have been tested.

Furthermore, 39.6 percent of all high-risk women, and 61.7 percent of high-risk women who were tested, said they received genetic counseling, Kurian’s team found. “I think it’s very concerning,” Kurian said of the findings. However, she noted that the survey was limited because it was based only on women’s responses and recollections. For instance, doctors might have mentioned genetic testing and women might have forgotten that.

Kurian disclosed financial ties to Myriad Genetics, Invitae, and Ambry Genetics.

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