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Direct-to-consumer advertising for genetic tests concerns physicians and may mislead patients
Date:11/29/2007

Some patients with no risk factors for breast cancer come in and request the test for BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 mutations, says Tracy, referring to a recent advertising campaign. The ads are compelling and theyre emotionally driven. I end up spending time discussing why a particular test being advertised is not appropriate when I should be addressing important issues such as eating a healthy diet or smoking cessation. At the same time, she notes, without proper counseling a patient who does not have the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 mutations might assume she has no risk for breast cancer and forgo recommended mammograms and clinical breast examinations.

In order to make an informed decision about genetic tests, patients should consult with their physicians about their particular risk for cancer or other diseases, Tracy says. Before any test is ordered, there should be a thought process about whether that particular test is appropriate and what well do with it. And physicians need to stay current about whats out there so we can best advise our patients.


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Contact: Valerie Wencis
vwencis@partners.org
617-726-0274
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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