DNA Helps Avoid Incorrect Cancer Diagnoses

Doctors can now use DNA to help make sure that cancer diagnoses are correct. Approximately 1 out of every 100 cases of cancer diagnoses is incorrect, a positive becomes a negative after it comes back from the labs; for every false positive, there is a false negative. This has been an issue with hundreds of patients, doctors telling their patients that they have breast cancer only to have to tell them that the diagnoses was incorrect; patients (could) be under or over treated for a disease they don’t even have.

The process of a biopsy is composed of as many as 15 to 20 complex steps. Pathology labs may do up to 50 breast cancer tests a day and it’s very likely that one patient’s case, where the cells and tissue are held, can contaminate another patient’s case. But with DNA testing incorrect information can be prevented.

How can DNA help?

The “Know Error” collects a swab from the patient’s cheek and use the swab as a reference sample. The doctors can compare the biopsy and the DNA to see if they match, if they don’t match the doctor can know that there was an error or contamination. Utilizing this new method, can put both the doctors and patients at ease that everything is correct and that there are no errors in the results. Most patients ask for this method just because it’s assuring them that they truly do or don’t have breast cancer, and if they need to take the next step.

Although DNA testing is a relatively inexpensive test, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services refuse to cover it. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in the United States and about 1.6 million biopsies are done per year.

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