Houston Chronicle, January 13, 2011
Texas doctors who recommend genetic testing for healthy relatives of cancer patients overwhelmingly favor unnecessary, costly tests, according to a survey. The survey, conducted by a Baylor College of Medicine geneticist, found that most doctors given hypothetical situations recommended a test when one wasn't needed or choose the more comprehensive test when a simple one would have sufficed. This was the case regardless of the doctors' specialty or experience. "This demonstrates that most physicians aren't informed how family-based genetic testing works," said Sharon Plon, MD, director of the Baylor Cancer Genetics Clinic and the survey's principal investigator. "They need help choosing the best test for cancer patient relatives." The comprehensive test costs $3,340 on average. The simple test costs $475.