If you have a family history of cancer, genetic testing can help you find out if you have certain genes that may put you at risk for cancer or other illnesses, or it may ease your mind that you are without certain risks. New research at Ohio State University Medical Center throws a rock in the gear indicating some of these tests are far from perfect.
The study looked at four different research labs performing four different types of genetic tests. When the results were analyzed, they found some problems.
"What I think surprised us all is the amount of administrative error that research labs are prone to," said Dr. Chris Eng, an OSU Researcher.
Researchers also found that the type of test that is considered the gold standard, a test known as "sequencing" is the most expensive and time consuming, so it's the least common. Instead, they say the less expensive tests were used more often, yielding a 65% accuracy rate in revealing genetic problems. That means, for example, that a lot of people might be told they are not at risk for cancer when they really are. The study suggests that if you're considering genetic testing, be sure to ask your genetic counselor first about the accuracy of the testing method they plan to use.
The researchers say that since certain types of tests might be better on certain types of genes, there needs to be a more consistent method of testing in place so that no one who is tested is given a false sense of security. For more information (click here) and click video news releases and breakthroughs, then click on genetic mutations linked to breast, ovarian cancers may be underestimated.