BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH: ONE WOMAN’S STORY UNDERSCORES IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING RISK
Maker of BREVAGen™ breast cancer predictive risk test makes donation to Komen for the Cure in honor of Cyndi Pierre’s courage to learn more and share her experience
ROGERS, Ark. — October 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — At age 44, Cyndi Pierre believed that her family history of breast cancer – her mother and sister were both diagnosed – put her at risk for developing the disease, too. She ate healthy, exercised, and saw her doctor regularly for mammograms, which were normal. Pierre even tested negative for the BRCA “breast cancer” gene but, knowing that almost 80% of breast cancer cases are sporadic and involve little to no family history of the disease, she wanted to learn more.
“I thought I had covered all my bases, but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling,” Pierre said. “So I took the next step with the BREVAGen™ test. The results made it possible for me to get insurance coverage for a 3-D MRI, and I discovered I already had cancer. I feel that test saved my life.”
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Phenogen Sciences Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Genetic Technologies Group (NASDAQ: GENE) and makers of the BREVAGen breast cancer predictive risk assessment test, congratulates Pierre for stepping forward as the first patient to acknowledge BREVAGen’s role in saving her life from breast cancer. Clinically validated, BREVAGen is the latest advance in assessing a woman’s unique risk of developing non-familial or sporadic breast cancer. To honor Pierre, the company has made a contribution to her fundraising efforts for the 31st Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® 60-mile walk.
Pierre’s story is one of determination and collaboration. After talking with her care team about doing everything she could to prevent breast cancer, Pierre’s nurse practitioner suggested BREVAGen—a noninvasive DNA test that analyzes a woman’s genetic and clinical risk factors to determine her risk of breast cancer. BREVAGen showed Pierre’s risk was 33 percent—nearly three times higher than the average woman’s. Cyndi’s high score prompted her insurance company to approve a more sensitive 3-D MRI, which would give doctors a more detailed look at her breast health. That test detected a small lump in her left breast. It was cancer.
“After years of normal mammograms, it was devastating to hear the words, ‘You have cancer,’” said Pierre. “I am so fortunate my nurse practitioner urged me to take the BREVAGen test. Without it, I probably wouldn’t be alive today.”
Cyndi’s cancer was stage 1. After a bilateral mastectomy, she is now healthy and cancer-free.
“When I suggested the BREVAGen test, I hoped it would give us clarity about Cyndi’s risk, give her piece of mind and help us develop a long-term screening plan that was right for her,” said Laurie Corbitt, OB-GYN nurse practitioner at Mercy Women’s Center in Rogers, Ark. “I never thought it would lead us to detect a cancer that was already growing. Cyndi is a true BREVAGen success story.”
Now that Cyndi is cancer-free, she is urging other women to take the BREVAGen test to learn their risk for breast cancer, then develop a plan for managing that risk.
“I tell every woman I meet: Take the BREVAGen test and learn your risk for breast cancer,” she said. “Be your own advocate. Don’t let anything stand in the way of you and your health. Knowing your personal risk for breast cancer could save your life. It saved mine.”
BREVAGen, which is a simple cheek swab test, is a clinically validated predictive risk test that more accurately identifies a woman’s unique risk of developing sporadic, estrogen-positive breast cancer. BREVAGen examines a woman’s clinical risk factors, such as her lifetime exposure to estrogen, combined with scientifically validated markers to determine each patient’s personalized five-year and lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.1 BREVAGen is supplied by Phenogen Sciences, a subsidiary of Genetic Technologies Limited (NASDAQ: GENE).
How BREVAGen Works
The BREVAGen predictive risk test is administered in a physician’s office using a simple, non-invasive “oral-swab.” Following analysis in a CLIA-certified laboratory, physicians receive a comprehensive genetic risk prediction report to review with the patient.
The patient’s risk of breast cancer is calculated by combining their relative risk score from seven genetic markers, called SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), with factors that comprise the patient’s clinical and reproductive history including current age, age at menarche, age at live first birth and race/ethnicity.
The BREVAGen test provides five-year and lifetime predictive risk assessments to more accurately evaluate the patient’s risk for developing sporadic breast cancer, regardless of family history or previous indeterminate test results.
BREVAGen was proven superior in determining breast cancer risk compared to Gail score alone (the Gail score is a simple questionnaire used to assess a patient’s clinical risk factors. It asks historical questions such as the age of a woman’s first menses and her first pregnancy).1 Utilizing data from the U.S. Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Clinical Trial, 3,300 women underwent breast cancer assessment utilizing the BREVAGen test. Of those 3,300 women, 1,664 were diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,636 were in the breast cancer-free control group. BREVAGen test results support current American Cancer Society (ACS), www.cancer.org, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), www.asco.org, and The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), www.nccn.org, guidelines for prevention and early detection of breast cancer.2,3
About Phenogen Sciences
Phenogen Sciences, the U.S. subsidiary of Australia-based Genetic Technologies Limited, is a pioneer in personalized healthcare. Phenogen offers novel predictive testing and assessment tools that help physicians proactively manage women’s health risks.
Phenogen’s lead product, BREVAGen, is a clinically validated test that combines a woman’s clinical history of estrogen exposure with her genetic predisposition to its effects – more accurately categorizing her personal risk for developing breast cancer. For more information, visit www.phenogensciences.com.
About Genetic Technologies Limited
Genetic Technologies is an established diagnostics company with more than 20 years of experience in commercializing genetic testing, non-coding DNA and product patenting. The company has operations in Australia and the U.S. and is dual-listed on the ASX (GTG.AX) and NASDAQ (GENE). Genetic Technologies is focused on the commercialization of its patent portfolio through an active out-licensing program and the global expansion of its oncology and cancer management diagnostics assets. For more information, please visit www.gtglabs.com.
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