Powerful Genetic Testing Provides Patients With Plenty Of Data, But Few Concrete Answers
Patients are left to decide what to do when doctors can't reach a consensus on a course of action when genetic tests turn up a higher risk for diseases like breast cancer.
The New York Times:
When Gene Tests For Breast Cancer Reveal Grim Data But No Guidance
At a time when genetic testing and genetically personalized treatments for cancer are proliferating, buoyed by new resources like President Obama’s $215 million personalized medicine initiative, women with breast cancer are facing a frustrating reality: The genetic data is there, but in many cases, doctors do not know what to do with it. ... Doctors have long been tantalized by a future in which powerful methods of genetic testing would allow treatments to be tailored to a patient’s genetic makeup. Today, in breast cancer treatment, testing of tumors and healthy cells to look for mutations has become standard. But ... “our ability to sequence genes has gotten ahead of our ability to know what it means,” said Eric P. Winer, the director of the breast oncology program at Harvard’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (Kolata, 3/11)