The surprisingly low numbers
Not all patients with ovarian or breast cancer would benefit from genetic testing, so the team confined their research to women who had ovarian cancer, women who were diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, and women who had a mother, sister, or daughter diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer. Of the 2.7% of women who had breast cancer in the study, only 29% of them discussed the possibility of testing with a medical provider, only 20.2% were actually advised to have the test, and only 15.3% had the test completed. For ovarian cancer, 15.1% discussed the test with a provider, 13.1% were advised to complete the test, and only 10.5% actually did.
These numbers are startlingly low, especially when you consider that genetic testing is relatively easy to complete. Childers noted that this data suggests genetic testing is still an underutilized resource that more medical providers and more women should be discussing. While genetic testing won’t do anything to cure cancer, it can help women and medical providers identify the disease at an earlier stage. If a woman discovers that she has cancer or is at a high risk of developing cancer, then she will be able to take steps to improve her health and the chances of successful treatment.