Angelina Jolie's Candid 'Sharing' Continues to Produce Positive Health Benefits for Women

Public attention focused on early detection and strategies to prevent breast cancer.

Angelina Jolie's much-applauded decision to have a preventative double mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery, came after the actress learned that she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died from ovarian cancer in 2007.

Thanks to Jolie's candor, public attention has focused on the issue of early detection and strategies of trying to prevent breast cancer rather than wait and then treat it. Now a game-changing test for assessing women with reversible, pre-cancerous changes that put them at high risk of developing future is attracting notice from physicians and other health care providers frustrated with the limitations of mammography. It is a painless and easy-to-perform procedure, especially effective in women with dense breast tissue.

Known as the ForeCYTE Breast Health Test, it was developed by Seattle-based Atossa Genetics, Inc. The test is specifically intended for the 110 million high-risk U.S. women ages 18 to 73 who are known to have dense breast tissue-a condition which makes mammography detection ineffective or misleading.

In a physician's office, a small sample of nipple aspirate fluid is obtained from each breast with a specially modified breast pump. Analysis of the fluid provides early detection of cancer or pre-cancerous conditions that may progress to cancer over an approximately eight year period-which is well before cancer can be detected by mammography or other means, especially in women younger than age 50. The FullCTYE breast biopsy microcatheter used in the test enables the collection of nipple fluid for cytological evaluation.

The purpose of this new screening system is to provide high-risk women of all ages and all breast types with an adjunct to standard detection methods, specifically mammography and physical examination, reports Dr. Steven Quay, the inventor of the ForeCYTE Breast Health Test and Chairman, CEO and President of Atossa Genetics. "We intend to do for breast cancer detection what the Pap smear has done for cervical cancer rates, which was reduced by over 70 percent. The ForeCYTE Breast Health Test can likewise become one of the most successful screening tests in medicine by detecting precursor changes that can lead to future breast cancer much earlier, so that lifestyle changes and other necessary actions or treatments can implemented."

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