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Pushing a Genetic Test Most Women Don’t Need (or, Be afraid! Pay money!)

September 18, 2007

I’ve been slightly less prolific here recently than I like to be, due to prepping the garden, my real job, and life in general. Luckily, the OBOS folks keep me on a bloggy schedule.

Yesterday’s post at Our Bodies, Ourselves, “Selling Women Fear Through Genetic Testing Advertisements,” addresses a company that is marketing a genetic test for breast and ovarian cancer risk factors to the masses, despite how few women need the test, the outrageous cost, and the limited evidence on whether acting on the test results actually helps to prolong women’s lives.

An excerpt:

Essentially, Myriad is attempting to convince women to be afraid of what lurks in their genes (understanding that many women are not knowledgeable about this topic), and to convince them to seek this expensive testing, ultimately benefiting Myriad’s bottom line if not the women themselves.

For more, head on over to OBOS. I’d love to see some of my regulars here get involved in the discussion there. Don’t be put off by the comment moderation – it’s just to prevent spam, and we’re quick on ’em.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2007 10:21 pm

    Ok..I’ll bite.

    Maybe the motivation for this is to save lives.

    Maybe it’s about giving women a feeling of power that they may be able to detect a life threatening disease in time.

    Maybe it’s a new toy that needs to be paid for at over $3000 per test.

    Whatever the reason, it will definitely scare the sh-t out of women and they will blindly go in to have their fortune told. Many will not educate themselves on the risks of this test whether it be physical or emotional…or both.

    I wonder how many women will be scared into having their breasts and ovaries removed unnecessarily.

    I shudder at the thought of it.

  2. September 19, 2007 7:48 am

    Cyndi,
    The problem is, the evidence isn’t really there that it will save lives. You’re right, though, that many women will be scared unnecessarily, and even those with the mutation don’t really have a lot of good options for reducing their mortality.

  3. September 19, 2007 11:07 am

    Rachel,

    Is it a blood test or a scan?

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