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8 | PAINT IT ALL PINK | 2016


Genetic testing becomes faster, cheaper, more available By Melissa Erickson More Content Now


lot has changed in genetic testing for breast cancer since the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations were discovered 20 years ago. In addition to advanced technology and tools to better find hereditary cancers, what cost thousands of dollars even a few years ago now costs much less, making genetic testing available to more people. In the past two decades, “cancer genetic testing has changed in two main ways,” said Meagan Farmer, director of cancer genetic counseling at University of Alabama at Birmingham. “First, we know of many more genes associated with cancer predisposition than we did 20 years ago. Second, we can now analyze many of these genes at one time, relatively quickly and at increasingly affordable costs. Next-generation sequencing is the testing

ut d, b t.” o o g c are perfe a at s t s am is e te c test ty of Alab s e i “Th eneti , Univers am h g t no n Farmer Birming tha w a g o t n Me ld k to mee lor u o h e t le s ortan couns alist p o i “Pe is imp netic spec ting it a ge etic g tes of n ll h en wit her g ergoi ugh a els t d n o or o ore un rt thr ne pa the o e f be elp s ble g oose es to h possi to ch match ily the ailable best nd fam av that nal a one perso tory.” y ir his y B. Dal the ar Dr.

technology that allows us to do this.” About 10 to 15 percent of most cancers are due to inherited genetic mutations. When these genes are present they greatly increase your risk of developing cancer, said Othman Laraki, president and co-founder of Color Genomics, which offers $249 at-home cancer gene tests that detect breast, ovarian and other common hereditary cancers. Provide a saliva sample, activate your

account online, mail the kit in, and Color Genomics analyzes your genetic makeup, which is reviewed by a medical professional. A session with a board-certified genetic counselor is included.