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Survey Reveals Low Public Awareness of BRCA Testing

A recent study conducted by Quest Diagnostic reveals 72 percent of American women haven't heard of BRCA testing. The assessment studies genetic markers to identify any mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. Variations in those genes can point to an increased risk of inheriting ovarian and breast cancer.

"Survey findings document that low public awareness of BRCA testing is compounded by misconceptions about the BRCA test and pervasive confusion or concern about what to do with the information it provides," Quest Diagnostics explained in a statement.

In October, the survey questioned 1,460 women ages 18 and older. Additional findings state that of the women who were aware of the testing, only 17 percent brought it up to their doctor. The study also asked whether the respondents would like to know if they carried those gene mutations. Of the women who have not been tested, 58 percent answered "yes."

This creates an opportunity for women to speak to their health care provider about whether testing for high-risk genetic markers is the right step for their present and future health care goals.

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