DNA Test to Predict Cancer Risk

$300 test: a blessing or a curse?
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2008 12:23 PM CST
A radiation therapist prepares to treat a prostate cancer patient for radiation treatment (East Valley Tribune AP)   (AP)
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(Newser) – A DNA test that can help predict a man's risk of developing prostate cancer is expected to be available later this year for as little as $300. It's the first glimpse of what's likely to be a revolution in medical testing to provide patients a window into their possible future. The information may save lives—or lead to unnecessary procedures and a lifetime of worry, reports the New York Times.

The test analyzes saliva or blood samples to identify gene abnormalities that significantly increase prostate cancer risks—but can't determine which men are more likely to need aggressive treatment. “It’s the boutique medicine of the future—we can know what diseases we will have to face the rest of our lives," said one specialist. "To me, it's a nightmare. We are just feeding off  this cancer phobia.”