First-of-its-kind, at-home test aims to increase early breast cancer detection

First-of-its-kind, at-home test aims to increase early breast cancer detection

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Chances are you probably know someone who's had breast cancer.

Maybe you're battling it yourself, or currently supporting a friend who's suffering.

Now, a new test is changing the way people are diagnosed, and it starts at home.

The Food and Drug Administration just approved an at-home test that allows people to check their risk of breast cancer themselves.

It's called 23andMe, and tests for three of the more than 1,000 genetic mutations linked to breast cancer.

Critics say this groundbreaking test likely will spark huge debate, saying anything regarding a serious disease needs to be left up to medical professionals.

But advocates say it will be worth it if it could save lives.

So how does the test work? The patient simply takes a sample of his or her own saliva and tests it.

If it comes back positive for any of the three genetic mutations, like BRCA, the patient is instructed to see a doctor.

The FDA stresses that despite approving this first-of-its-kind test, the fact is that it only detects three out of 1,000 DNA abnormalities which can lead to cancer, so it shouldn't replace regular mammogram tests or trips to the doctor.

Experts say the three genetic mutations found in the 23andMe test are most commonly found in Jewish people.

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