611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

Health Choice Integrated Care crisis Line
1-877-756-4090

NurseWise 24-Hour Crisis Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530



SEABHS
611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

NurseWise 24-Hr Crisis Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530


powered by centersite dot net

Getting Started
Here are some forms to get started. These can be printed and brought with you so that you can pre-fill out some known info ahead of time. More...


Health Sciences
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Genes Start Mutating Soon After Life Begins, Study FindsMore Men Than Women With Parkinson's Have Caregivers'Fountain of Youth' Gene Discovered in Secluded Amish CommunityLRRK2 Variants Linked to Lower Age at Onset of Parkinson'sKnowing Too Much About Your Genes Might Be RiskyOverlapping Surgery Appears Safe in Neurosurgical ProceduresDo I Know Ewe?Daytime Wounds May Heal Faster Than Nighttime OnesHuman vs. Animal Brainpower: More Alike Than You Might ThinkResilient Brain Connections May Help Against Alzheimer'sConcerns Surround Use of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic TestingWhen It Comes to Obesity, Genes Just Partly to BlameDoes Time of Neurosurgery Matter?Smoking Alters Genetic Relationship with Parkinson'sHealth Tip: Considering Genetic TestingDiabetes Ups Risk of MACE in Acute Coronary SyndromesScientists Spot Genes Behind Skin ColorScientists Support Genome Editing to Prevent DiseaseBrain Disconnects Spotted in Parkinson's Patients With Visual HallucinationsCoffee Doesn't Help Parkinson's Motor DisordersCan Babies Help Heart Patients?Scientists Spot Marker for CTE in Living Football PlayersNerve Stimulation Pulls Patient From 15-Year Vegetative StateWhy Your Nose May Be Key to Parkinson's RiskEvolution Not Over for HumansBrain Scans Offer Clues to Why Some Teens Pile on PoundsNew Clues to Why Yawns Are ContagiousNew Hope From Old Drugs in Fight Against Parkinson'sFirst Gene Therapy Approved in U.S.Awake for Aneurysm Brain Surgery, Better Results?Does Autism Risk Reside in Cells' Energy Engines?More Evidence Contact Sports Can Affect the BrainVirtual House Calls for Speedy, Effective Parkinson's CareSeven Imaging Biomarkers Tied to Cognition in Male FightersDiabetes Drug Shows Promise Against Parkinson'sCombined MRI Might Help Predict Brain Damage in BoxersMedical Reality Catches Up to Science FictionNoninvasive Brain Test May Pinpoint Type of DementiaIn Mice, Brain Cells Discovered That Might Control AgingScans May Show Consciousness in 'Comatose' PatientsBoxers, MMA Fighters May Face Long-Term Harm to Brain: StudyFDA Panel OKs What May Soon Be First Gene Therapy Approved in U.S.Early Parkinson's May Prompt Vision ProblemsWhole-Genome Sequencing of Uncertain Clinical UtilityCould Shift Work Damage Your DNA?Gene Sequencing May Reveal Risks for Rare DiseasesRogue Genes May Cause Some ALS CasesSticky Brain 'Plaques' Implicated in Alzheimer's AgainEven Your Bones Can Get Fat, Mouse Study SuggestsDoes a Low-Fat Dairy Habit Boost Parkinson's Risk?
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Medical Disorders
Mental Disorders
Mental Health Professions

Misunderstood Gene Tests May Lead to Unnecessary Mastectomies

HealthDay News
by By Dennis ThompsonHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Apr 12th 2017

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, April 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Close to half of breast cancer patients who chose to have a double mastectomy after genetic testing didn't actually have the gene mutations known to raise the risk of additional cancers, a new survey found.

"That was a bit surprising, because we wouldn't typically expect that surgery to be conducted for women if they don't have a risk-causing gene mutation," said lead researcher Dr. Allison Kurian. She is an associate professor of medicine, health research and policy at Stanford University.

The finding suggests that many women and their doctors aren't interpreting the results of genetic testing properly, she added.

There are known genetic mutations that increase future risk of cancer, the most notorious of which are BRCA 1 and 2.

But genetic tests also often detect mutations of uncertain significance, Kurian explained.

The genes are not normal, but the mutations they have are not linked to any specific cancer risk. There's a nine out of 10 chance that such a mutation is harmless, based on prior evidence, Kurian said.

Treatment guidelines recommend that women with uncertain genetic results not be treated as aggressively as women who test positive for BRCA 1 or 2, Kurian noted.

But among the nearly 666 breast cancer patients in the study who received genetic testing, women with uncertain genetic results were as likely as not to receive a double mastectomy.

"Patients who had uncertain results of genetic testing were quite likely to go ahead and have very invasive surgeries, to have double mastectomies to reduce their risk," Kurian said.

Many of the women's surgeons said they treat an uncertain result on a genetic test as aggressively as a harmful result, according to follow-up surveys.

"That's something that is not recommended by guidelines and might lead to more invasive surgeries," Kurian said.

Half of surgeons who see fewer breast cancer patients per year said they would aggressively treat an uncertain genetic test result. More experienced surgeons were less likely to overreact, but even one out of four doctors in that group said they would treat uncertain results the same as a BRCA mutation.

The study was published online April 12 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

One cancer expert was somewhat alarmed by the findings.

"There's no question that as any clinician specializes more, they're going to have a better knowledge base and be more expert," said Dr. Nadine Tung, director of the cancer risk and prevention program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

"And yet even in that situation, a quarter of surgeons seeing a high volume of breast cancer patients were still saying they act on a variant of unknown significance the same as they do a mutation [known to raise breast cancer risk]. That's notable and concerning, for sure," Tung said.

Although genetic testing is becoming increasingly important in cancer treatment, these results show that genetics experts have not been properly integrated into standard cancer-care teams, said Robert Smith, vice president of cancer screening for the American Cancer Society.

Only around half of breast cancer patients who underwent genetic testing discussed their results with a genetic counselor, something that guidelines say should happen every time, Kurian and Smith noted.

"Some women may be making these decisions because they are not fully understanding that their risk is not terribly different from average-risk women," Smith said. "Rather aggressive therapy decisions are perhaps being made in the absence of careful, competent discussion about what this means."

Worse, only 7 percent to 10 percent of the women discussed their results with multiple health professionals on their treatment team, Smith added.

However, Tung pointed out that integrating genetic experts into cancer care is a more complex problem than it seems at first glance. She is chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's genetics subcommittee.

There's a shortage of genetic counselors in the United States, mainly due to the fact that insurers often balk at reimbursing them, Tung explained. That shortage can create unwanted wait times for anxious breast cancer patients who want fast action taken, and may not want to take the extra step to see a counselor anyway.

"There are issues of timing and timeliness, where they are using this information to make immediate treatment decisions," Tung said. "There can't be a lot of delays. We need that streamlined."

More information

For more on genetic testing for breast cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.