Home genetic testing may lead to exaggerating breast cancer risks

  • Some people use consumer genetics testing to discover vulnerabilities
  • But a new study shows this testing may have flaws
  • In particular, researchers found it may exaggerate breast cancer risk

(NewsNation) — A new study suggests that consumer genetic testing may be leading people to exaggerate their breast cancer risks.

The study, conducted by a group of British researchers, noted that women who find that they have a variant of BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes may be informed that their risk of breast cancer is between 60% and 80%.

But the study’s analysis suggests that the risk may be closer to 20% of the women don’t have a close relative who has breast cancer.

“Being told you are at high genetic risk of disease can really influence levels of fear of a particular condition and the resulting action you may take,” said the University of Exeter’s Dr. Leigh Jackson, who worked on the study. “Up to 80% risk of developing breast cancer is very different from 20%.”

One expert responded to the study by reiterating the need to consult with experts before making medical decisions.

“We would highly recommend that anyone found to have a hereditary cancer gene mutation via [Direct to Consumer] genetic testing consult with a cancer genetics expert prior to making any medical management decisions, particularly preventative surgery,” Courtney Rowe-Teeter, a genetics counselor at Stanford Cancer Genetics Clinic, said.


Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on NewsNation