Home Saliva Test Kit Screens for Breast Cancer Genes

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In 2014, Angelina Jolie, whose mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56, tested positive for the BRCA-1 gene. Jolie decided to have a pre-emptive double mastectomy, raising awareness about the role of genetics in predicting cancer risk for women around the world.

“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent chance of breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different for each woman,” Jolie wrote in an Op-Ed piece published in the New York Times. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy.” In March the following year, Jolie also had her ovaries removed as a further safety precaution.

Since then, interest in genetic testing for all types of cancer has increased, but until recently, such testing had to be done in a doctor’s office or specialty lab. Now, a company called Color Genomics, has created an affordable saliva test for home use that makes gaining information about your genetic risk for most common hereditary cancers — including breast, ovarian, colon, and pancreatic cancer — much easier. The test analyzes 30…