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Genetic testing doesn't always tell everything about your DNA

May 02, 2019 - 7:29 pm
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KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Over-the-counter genetic testing has become very popular. 

A case in point is a product called 23andMe, which has allowed people for the last nine years to test themselves for potentially harmful gene mutations including BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are linked with breast and ovarian cancer. 

Now, an oncologist from the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center has come public with a story about how she developed breast cancer two years after taking the 23andMe test in 2010. 

This brings up a very important point: 23andMe and other tests like it can detect some genetic causes for cancer, but there are limits and these tests should not replace routine screening in a medical setting and screening reviewed by a physician. 

The biggest mistake a person could make is to think they are clear of genetic disorders just because of one of these tests.