by Medindia Content Team on  September 12, 2007 at 4:44 PM Genetics & Stem Cells News
Myriad Launches Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Breast Cancer Gene Test
Myriad Genetic Laboratories on Monday began a direct-to-consumer advertising campaign in Boston; Hartford, Conn.; New York City; and Providence, R.I., of its genetic test, BRCAnalysis, which identifies the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to Myriad, women with certain BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have a 56% to 87% risk of developing breast cancer and a 27% to 44% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Women in the general population have about a 7% risk of developing breast cancer and less than 2% risk of developing ovarian cancer, the company says. BRCA mutations account for fewer than 10% of breast cancer cases, and about one in 400 women are living with the mutation, the New York Times reports.

Myriad's campaign includes television commercials, and magazine and radio advertisements and carries the slogan, "Be ready against cancer." The campaign is scheduled to last six months and is targeted toward women ages 25 to 55, according to the Times.

Myriad in late 2002 and early 2003 ran the commercials in a five-month test in Denver and Atlanta. According to the company, there were 38 times more calls to Myriad's toll free number and 30% more women tested in those cities, compared with control cities.

The commercial encourages women to contact their physicians for more information about the test or call its toll-free number. It features six women saying "breast cancer runs in my family" and vowing to "be ready against cancer" by taking the test. Myriad hopes to extend the campaign nationwide, the Journal reports.

The test costs between $300 and $3,000, depending on the level of genetic sequencing performed. According to the Journal, most insurance companies will cover the cost for women who have a family history of breast cancer.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

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