SPRINGFIELD, MO (03/07/18) - The ancestry kit 23andMe announced it will now test your DNA for three mutations that could lead to breast cancer.
The FDA has cleared the company to check for warning signs of breast cancer. But one local expert with mercy says the 23andMe test kit might not work for folks here in The Ozarks.
Testing for BRCA One and Two genes that are hereditary for breast cancer, John Bumberry with Mercy says only a small amount of people here in the Ozarks could benefit from catching breast cancer early with the kit.
“Specifically there is three genes that are referred to as the founders mutation which are common in people with Jewish ancestry," says Bumberry. "Because we don’t have a large Jewish population here.”
He says there are about roughly 1600 genes for breast cancer and the test only check a small amount. And you, definitley, shouldn’t use it as a replacement for a mammogram.
"I think it’s fine to find out what part of the world you come from," he says. "If you find out you have a genetic mutation that’s great! But, if you don’t find out you have a genetic mutation that certainly doesn’t rule it out.”
If you catch breast cancer early, he says it is curable. And with it being the most common cancer in the Ozarks there are things you can do if you’ve tested positive for the mutation. Such as getting mammograms twice a year and a mastectomy.
With the average age for breast cancer being in the low 60’s, Bumberry says he’s seeing patience younger and younger. "Probably, at least, between 25 to 30 percent of the ladies I see are under 50 when they are diagnosed," explains Bumberry.
He sees around 300 women every year at Mercy for breast cancer and the best thing he says you can do is get annual screenings.