Another Useful Test

The company's commitment to demonstrating the clinical utility of its services was also clear from the development of its Rapid BRACAnalysis test, one of Myriad's laboratory analysis options described in chapter 2. For approximately $4,000, clients could get the results of a full-sequence analysis of both BRCA genes within seven days. The company, who stated that this service had been initiated at the request of surgeons, targeted this service to clients who had already been diagnosed with cancer and were about to have the tumor removed through lumpectomy. According to Gregory Crichfield, president of Myriad's laboratory: "These doctors and their patients use the valuable information from the BRACAnalysis test to assist in decision making as they face important choices following a diagnosis of breast cancer. The information provided from BRACAnalysis testing can help a woman make decisions to improve her health and quality of life."32 Armed with information about their gene mutation status, clients with breast cancer might choose to undergo a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy. If the client had a gene mutation, it had likely contributed to the first cancer and could possibly cause another cancer in the future. A Rapid BRACAnalysis test and subsequent mastectomy could prevent this recurrence. The company emphasized this use in a patient brochure and direct-to-consumer ads: "The worst thing about hearing you have cancer is hearing it twice."33 This test, however, did not escape controversy. Some breast cancer activists argued that providing genetic information to a client after she had just received a diagnosis of breast cancer would compromise her ability to make measured decisions about whether she wanted to undergo a mastectomy.34 They felt that clients could not possibly receive proper pre- and post-test counseling when they were so anxious about their health status and under such time constraints.

Overall, Myriad characterized BRCA testing as an unprecedented technology that could improve the lives and health care of women and was distinct from other risk-assessment services that had previously been available. Furthermore, it could be offered without specialist care or counseling, because the laboratory analysis itself identified specific risks and could trigger certain treatment recommendations. As the company promoted its novel technology, which identified new risks and disease and could also direct clients to new treatments, it also articulated a specific definition of a good health outcome: to identify and treat mutation-positive individuals. The company argued that this identification process was useful not only because knowing one's mutation status would provide peace of mind but also because a variety of clinical management options were available for this newly identified class of at-risk individuals. As we will see, however, this goal was quite different from the one articulated by its British counterpart.

10 Ways To Fight Off Cancer

10 Ways To Fight Off Cancer

Learning About 10 Ways Fight Off Cancer Can Have Amazing Benefits For Your Life The Best Tips On How To Keep This Killer At Bay Discovering that you or a loved one has cancer can be utterly terrifying. All the same, once you comprehend the causes of cancer and learn how to reverse those causes, you or your loved one may have more than a fighting chance of beating out cancer.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment