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New Breast Cancer Gene Test Offered

A very reputable biotech firm is now offering a gene test to identify the genes for the most common types of breast cancer.  This is new.  Previously, the only tests available were for genes for rare types of breast cancer.  The test is expensive, about $1600.  It is done with a simple blood draw or by swabbing your cheek.  This has come under intense criticism by many doctors.  Some critics say this will "needlessly alarm" women who get results that show they carry a gene for breast cancer.  I think this type of thinking is incredibly chauvinistic.  The fact is these genes can lead to breast cancer and if a person wants to know whether they are at risk not only should they be permitted to do this, but they should do it to be more aware of the risks they face.  This could lead to early diagnosis and cure.  Should we withhold all tests to women because we don't want to scare them?A more legitimate criticism of this test is that it could lead to complacency for those women who don't have a gene that causes breast cancer.  That is, if they don't test positive for a gene, will they continue to get annual mammograms, for example.  It is possible that will occur, but the fact is many women are not getting annual mammograms now.  Those that get them are simply more disciplined or more knowledgeable about the value of mammograms.  Those that get this genetic test are certainly the same people that fall into this group.