Women's Health

BRCA Gene Testing Experiencing a Surge in Use

BRCA Gene Testing Experiencing a Surge in Use

The BRCA gene test is a well-known method for tagging certain individuals to have a genetic susceptibility to developing breast or ovarian cancer. This genetic test is extremely helpful for identifying those at risk, and it's even more helpful because the people with a positive test often have a more aggressive illness. BRCA gene testing has the power to save many lives.

Though the screening test is incredibly famous for being able to help save lives, it may not necessarily be an ideal test for everyone.

For example, if nobody in your family has ever had breast or ovarian cancer, then it's probably unlikely that an expensive DNA test is going to bring you any benefit at all. This is because the test is really a genetic test that identifies people who have inherited a mutant gene that predisposes them to get cancer. Recently, we've seen a sharp rise in people who are seeking this genetic test, regardless of whether or not they really need it.

In a community that won't stop eating fast food, drinking alcohol, or smoking cigarettes, why are people flocking to get this genetic test?

Why are more women now getting this genetic test?

Researchers from the University of Georgia tried to answer this question with hard evidence. They decided to look at multiple factors that were driving people to get this genetic test. One of these factors included the endorsement of this screening test by celebrities.

Why is BRCA testing so attractive and useful in medicine?

The beauty of BRCA testing is that it can tell you if you have a risk of breast or ovarian cancer that runs in your family. If used properly and in the right people, it can help reassure people who have a strong family history, and also save people who were slated by their DNA to have this terrible disease. BRCA testing has been very successful in decreasing mortality and morbidity of breast cancer in susceptible populations. Women who have inherited the BRCA gene mutation are at a 45-65% risk to develop breast cancer before they turn 70. This is much higher than the 7% that we see in the general population.

However, some people are more likely to benefit from this testing than others.

But who should be getting this genetic test? It's really most helpful for those who have a strong family history, or women with backgrounds that carry a higher risk. BRCA testing does come with costs, and these researchers wanted to understand trends in testing rates, provider payments, and patient costs. To evaluate this, they looked at reported revenue of Myriad Genetics spanning over a decade from 2003-2014.

Researchers used company revenue of Myriad Genetics to evaluate

Myriad Genetics was the only provider for the BRCA gene test during those years. That's why it was a good target to evaluate. By looking at how much money they made from this screening test, they could eventually figure out the finances that went into BRCA gene testing. They also could monitor whether or not there was an increase in the use of this screening test.

Read on to learn more about this screening test and why more women are getting it done.