April 19, 2015 |
Researchers who study hereditary breast and ovarian cancer call it "the Angelina Jolie Effect. " They reported a sustained global surge in requests for BRCA genetic testing after the actress wrote about her preventive mastectomy two years ago. Last month, she gave another boost to awareness when she wrote about her recent surgery to remove her ovaries. But raising awareness hasn't necessarily lowered barriers, BRCA experts say. People seeking to identify and manage their inherited cancer risk often confront conflicting, confusing medical guidelines, test options, and insurance coverage.
August 11, 2014 |
Vicki Wolf was only 36 when she was first diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. After her third diagnosis 11 years later, the native Philadelphian had a genetic test that revealed what she dreaded and expected: She had inherited a mutation in a gene that made her susceptible to the disease. She urged her brother, Harvey I. Singer, to get genetic testing and counseling, but he shrugged off the idea. "I said, 'I'm a guy.' To me, breast cancer was just something women get," Singer recalled.
December 16, 2013 |
Your mother or sister has just told you she tested positive for a mutation in one of her BRCA genes, meaning her risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer is much higher than normal. And there is a 50 percent chance you have the same mutation. Do you get yourself tested? All too often, the answer is no, according to a new study by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center. The authors interviewed 438 close relatives of 253 women who had shared results of their tests for cancer-causing mutations in the genes, called BRCA1 and BRCA2.
April 17, 2013 |
The U.S. Supreme Court hearing Monday on whether human genes can be patented cuts to the heart of law, science, and even philosophy: Should a firm have exclusive rights to use the genetic code in your cells? Patients, researchers, and the life-sciences industry all have much at stake. But beneath the dispute lies an issue that may be more important in the long run. Who should own the aggregated information that companies compile with gene patents? The issue was not raised in the hour-long hearing Monday before the court, but it's critical.
April 15, 2013 |
As legal questions go, it is very succinct: Can human genes be patented? To the uninitiated, and at least two judges, it might seem obvious - or absurd. How can you get a patent for human genes? Aren't genes part of the human body, part of nature? Can you get a patent for a human leg or kidney, or the sun or the moon? The U.S. Supreme Court will wrestle with the question of whether human genes are patentable during oral arguments Monday in a case that could have huge implications for people needing cancer testing, scientific researchers, and pharmaceutical organizations, but also agricultural producers, other industries, and, perhaps, individual liberty.
October 16, 2012
From today through Oct. 17, Philly.com and The Inquirer will mark breast cancer awareness month by publishing a profile a day of transformative moments reported by patients. The series culminates in a special Philly.com/health Inquirer section on Oct. 18, and can be viewed at www.philly.com/breastcancer . "My little Sister, Debbi, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer when she was 29 years old and pregnant," said Traci Walters of Texas. "They induced labor about a month early because the tumor was growing so fast because she was pregnant.
September 8, 2012 |
LONDON - Mammograms aimed at finding breast cancer might actually raise the chances of developing it in young women whose genes put them at higher risk for the disease, a study by leading European cancer agencies suggests. The added radiation from mammograms and other types of tests with chest radiation might be especially harmful to them, and an MRI is probably a safer method of screening women under 30 who are at high risk because of gene mutations, the authors conclude. The study cannot prove a link between the radiation and breast cancer, but it is one of the biggest ever to look at the issue.
November 14, 2011 |
Question: Do you think "prophylactic" mastectomy is rather extreme? Answer: Removal of healthy breast tissue as a prophylactic (preventive) effort to prevent breast cancer from occurring or reoccurring is a controversial but deeply personal decision. There are several varied situations where prophylactic mastectomies are performed: (1) Previous breast cancer in one breast; (2) Strong family history of breast cancer; (3) Presence of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation for breast cancer; (4)
October 3, 2011 |
My cousin Gail Katz could have told me how surgery and chemotherapy saved her life. Instead, she told me how breast reconstruction saved her soul. Gail was 42 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. The tumor was small, a bit over one centimeter, and had not spread to her lymph nodes. But because she was relatively young, her doctor recommended chemotherapy and radiation after her lumpectomy. During the next several years, Gail's mother and maternal aunt were diagnosed with the same condition, which prompted Gail's visit to a genetics counselor and subsequent genetic testing.
October 3, 2011 |
They call themselves "previvors. " Genetic testing revealed they had a high lifetime risk of breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer. Their genetic predisposition sets them apart from other healthy women and from genetically predisposed women who've already been diagnosed with cancer. For some previvors, such as Sandy Cohen of Lafayette Hill, breast cancer had cut a swath through their families. They grew up thinking it was only a matter of time until they, too, followed their mothers and grandmothers into the oncologist's office.