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Globally-Renowned Hereditary Cancer Test Makes its Way to the Philippines

In May 2013, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie made headlines when she announced that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy. Her controversial decision came after test results showed that she had 87 percent of getting breast and ovarian cancer because of a high-risk gene.

Since then, Jolie’s health issue has brought the issue of hereditary cancer to the fore, encouraging women all over the world to get tested and seek consultations. Dubbed “the Angelina Jolie effect,” researchers found that testing rates increased from about 350 a week prior to Jolie’s news to about 500 a week after her announcement, reflecting a 40 percent increase.

Health experts welcomed this surge in cancer awareness and spur of action, especially since cancer does run in some families. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of all cancers develop because a person inherited a genetic mutation in a way that encourages the disease to grow, according to Myriad Genetics. Myriad is the company that offered BRACAnalysis, the test used by Jolie to determine her cancer risk.

As the demand for more comprehensive gene tests soared, Myriad has launched a new multi-hereditary cancer panel, called myRisk Hereditary Cancer. Currently, Hi-Precision Diagnostics (HPD), the leading diagnostics center in the country, is exclusively providing this globally renowned test in the Philippines.

“Individuals with certain genetic mutations are far more likely to develop cancer, often at a much earlier age than most people. As such, knowing a patient’s genetic makeup can help reduce risks and lead to the correct management of the disease,” said Dr. Karl T. Morales, a Surgical Oncology & General Surgery doctor and a Fellow of American College of Surgeons.

Myriad myRisk is a risk assessment test that detects gene mutations associated with eight major cancers. This includes cancer of the breast, ovarian, gastric, colorectal, pancreatic, melanoma, prostate and endometrial, which can all be associated with a single gene.

“What makes Myriad myRisk different from other tests is that this is the only hereditary cancer test combining your genetic information with your personal and family history, in order to generate guideline-based management options to help you lower cancer risks,” Dr. Morales said.

He clarified that Myriad myRisk does not determine whether one has cancer – rather, the test looks at multiple genes that impact inherited risks for eight important cancers.

Testing multiple genes helps avoid missing a possible cancer-causing mutation. “These test results provide critical information for your healthcare provider to make optimal medical decisions and take action in building a personalized cancer risk-reduction plan,” Ong-Sue added.

If one tests positive in the myRisk test, it means the individual carries a genetic mutation that increases cancer risk. The myRisk report is a helpful tool to understand a patient’s options, leading to management recommendations for specific cancer risks. With these recommendations, the patient and healthcare provider discuss and determine the right course of management, including improved screenings, preventive medication, and risk-reducing procedures.

Considered to be the global benchmark in accuracy and in offering fast turnaround time for panel testing, Myriad myRisk is among the range of special diagnostic tests that HPD offers.

Currently, HPD is one of the widest networks of diagnostics centers in the country. “We want to make the most comprehensive diagnostics services with the latest testing technologies accessible to more Filipinos, because we believe everyone deserves high quality healthcare,” HPD Vice President for Sales and Marketing Melissa OngSue-Lee said.

Known to be a pioneer in the industry, HPD continues to innovate service delivery to its clients. Highly trained, licensed professional medical technologists who conduct integrated and fully automated laboratory, imaging, and special tests, as well as other forms of examinations man its facilities, furnished with state-of-the art equipment and software.

For more information about Hi-Precision Diagnostics, the Myriad myRisk Hereditary Cancer test, as well as other diagnostic tests, visit www.hi-precision.com.ph or contact their hotlines, (02) 741-7777 or (02) 863-9999.