Joan Lunden talks about imaging technology and genetic testing for the early detection of breast cancer with Roy Firestone and Patrick I. Borgen, MD, in advance of her keynote address at the 32nd Miami Breast Cancer Conference (MBCC).
Borgen, the program chair of MBCC, notes that mammograms save many lives. However, for women with dense breasts, mammograms and even 3D mammograms have their limitations. Many women do not realize that an ultrasound is essential if they have dense breasts, Lunden notes.
Laws are being developed to mandate that physicians inform patients if they have dense breast tissue across the United States. The next step in the process is insurance coverage for ultrasound, and legislation is the first step in this process, Lunden notes. The next frontier in imaging technology is 3D mammography, which still has its limitations, Borgen notes. This technology should be coupled with other modalities, like ultrasound.
Approximately 10% to 12% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history, Borgen notes. However, this low rate could be explained by a lack of knowledge on family history. Despite this, women are still at risk, regardless of whether there is a family history or not.
If several members of a family develop breast cancer, it is likely related to a genetic predisposition, Borgen notes. This genetic risk began with the discovery of BRCA1/2
and has evolved into an entire panel of possible alterations. If an individual tests positive for BRCA1/2
, their insurance rates will not be impacted, Borgen notes. More importantly, information from the testing could change treatment and screening decisions.
The testing does carry costs, on average it could range from $1500 and $4500, Borgen states. Unfortunately, in some situations, these tests are not covered by insurance.
Joan Lunden will be delivering the keynote address at the 32nd Miami Breast Cancer Conference. To attend the meeting along with OncLive
, register at gotoper.com