Thursday, May 16, 2013

The breast cancer treatment gap

Technology is advancing along in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. We now have a genetic test which allows patients to find out if they have a genetic mutation which puts them at high risk of the disease. But then we have the gap - if you have the mutation you get two options:
  • cut off healthy body parts essentialy
  • or spend the rest of your life in constant monitoring through mammograms and MRIs.

Neither of those are particularly good are they? If you have a mastectomy and an oophorectomy (ovary removal) as Angelina Jolie is, you put yourself instantly into forced menopause at a young age which causes its own set of problems. If you opt for constant monitoring, it can be expensive, stressful, and cause a huge emotional toll on your life.

We need something that breaches this gap that gives women the option to keep their body parts and not have to spend their life in constant monitoring.

Never mind that Myriad Genetics, which is the sole provider of the test because they patented the BRCA genes (until we hear about the Supreme Court ruling) and charges $3000 for each one.

While we have lots of progress, the gaps are becoming more clearly defined. Now its time to focus on the gaps.

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