BRCA Gene Testing in the News

What Does the Supreme Court’s Ruling on BRCA Genetic Testing Mean To You?


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Until weeks ago, Myriad Genetics, a company based in Salt Lake City, held a patent on the BRCA 1and BRCA 2 testing, meaning all hospitals, clinics and labs had to send their gene specimens there for testing.  A Supreme Court ruling on June 13th, declared that human genes couldn’t be patented, opening testing opportunities for labs other than Myriad to test for the BRCA mutations.  This ruling should drive costs down which have historically run as high as $4000 to find out if you indeed carry the gene.


Cost has been a huge hindrance for women who have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer and want to be tested for the BRCA genes.  Hopefully this will change with this ruling and give many more options they otherwise would not have.  Preventive care can save a patient thousands of dollars in cancer treatment later, as well as save her life!


If a woman is found to carry a genetic mutation, her options include getting a mastectomy, undergoing mammograms and ultrasounds every six months.  Tamoxifen, which suppresses estrogen production, may be added to the course of therapy also.


For those who carry a mutation that increases the risk for ovarian cancer, removing the ovaries and possibly the fallopian tubes is an option.




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