April 1, 2013 |
Certain mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase a woman's chances of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer dramatically. But that doesn't mean all women should line up for laboratory testing to see if they have those risky versions of the genes, members of a government panel said Monday. Unless she has a family history that makes it likely she has the harmful mutations, a woman will be unlikely to benefit from genetic counseling and...
December 9, 2012 |
MT. GERIZIM, West Bank - When Ben Yehuda Altif got engaged to his first cousin Mazal, there was no problem winning the blessing of their families or the Samaritan high priest, who leads their ancient Israelite sect. Marriage between cousins is common in the religious community. But there was still an obstacle. Like many Samaritan couples today, the pair had to pass a premarital genetic screening to predict the likelihood of having healthy children. Without the green light from doctors, the marriage would be off. "Doctors said OK, and now we have a healthy, handsome boy," said Altif, 33, reaching for his wife's cellphone to show off pictures of their son. Samaritans, who trace their roots back about 2,700 years, are best known for clinging to strict biblical traditions that have largely disappeared, including animal sacrifice, isolation of menstruating women and, until recently, a ban on marrying outsiders.
September 13, 2012 |
The war on cancer is poised to enter a new phase that promises more precise treatments, fewer side effects and, most of all, more survivors. And none too soon. Although death rates from many cancers have slowly but steadily declined over the decades, experts agree that current treatments are mostly too blunt, too scattershot and too dangerous for the patients they are intended to save. Today, treating cancer often means an all-out chemical assault on tumors. Doctors bombard patients' bodies with drugs that aim to destroy cancer cells.
March 12, 2012 |
Spending on genetic tests has reached $5 billion annually and could top $25 billion within a decade, according to an insurance industry study published Monday. The rise in spending is likely to intensify the debate over genetic testing as policymakers and employers struggle to contain spiraling healthcare costs. The growing availability of genetic and molecular diagnostic tests offers the promise of earlier detection of disease and more personalized treatments that could wring substantial savings from the nation's $2.6 trillion-a-year healthcare tab. But many medical providers and other experts worry that those benefits may be outweighed by indiscriminate use of genetic testing, similar to what has occurred with some spending on popular prescription drugs and expensive imaging tests.
July 25, 2011 |
Genetic testing to check if a woman has the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations can be a useful tool for preventing breast cancer and ovarian cancer in some cases. But doctors might not be referring patients for such services appropriately, according to a study published Monday in the journal Cancer. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta sent out a survey to 3,200 family and internal medicine practitioners and obstetrician/gynecologists across the U.S. They found that physicians may not recommend screening often enough in women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancers (who, guidelines stipulate, generally should be offered such services)
April 29, 2011
It is now possible to learn about your predisposition to certain diseases simply by buying a home genetic test kit, swabbing your mouth and sending the saliva sample to a laboratory. But should you be allowed to? That question, raised by a recent article in The Times, is best answered: "Yes, but …" That the question could even be posed is a testament to the breathtaking progress made by genetics. These days, for a fee, you can send a saliva sample to a genealogy firm and discover which of several ancient populations included your ancestors.