Detection of breast cancer can be very difficult and as with any cancer the sooner we are able to make a diagnosis the better the outcome is for the patient. In fact, there is a 97% survivability rate with early detection. I am dedicating my blog this week on a test that I feel everyone should know about and have done yearly. I am referring to the BT Test for breast cancer detection. The BT Test measures specific proteins in the blood such as: IL 8, IL 12, CEA, HGF and VEGF. These markers are associated with the immune system’s response to breast cancer. Meaning that if the BT Test is elevated than it is likely that breast cancer is present. This differs from genetic testing which evaluates potential risk for being diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in the future.
The BT Test is designed to be used in combination with imaging. The imaging that I am referring to is the digital mammography, which is far from being 100% effective at detecting breast cancer unfortunately for most. While this can be a life saver for some, yearly screening can have a negative emotional and physical impact on many. The continual exposure of radiation to the breasts year after year, unnecessary biopsies, additional imaging, and the fear that revolves around all of this can take a toll causing many women to stop screening all together. I don’t want to be misleading with my words and say that I am an advocate for or against mammograms, I sit somewhere in the middle. The reality is the more information we have the better. Perhaps with the use of the BT Test, mammograms may not have to be done as often. Each person is different so I always make recommendations based on the overall health of my patient and family history.
In my opinion there is no one great screening tool in existence at the moment, which is why I recommend doing as many tests as possible especially for those who have a strong family history of breast cancer. The BT Test is an easy solution to finding out more information without being invasive. For patients who refuse mammograms than I recommend using the BT Test and thermography as they are valuable tools that give us information that we would never have without them. The thermogram is a non-invasive machine that specifically detects heat, in this case, of the breasts. The theory is that if breast cancer is present than heat will be detected by the machine due to cancer being highly vascular. Unfortunately I feel the same about mammograms as I do about thermograms, neither is strong enough to use alone.
The good news about the BT Test is that a clinical study demonstrated a 97% accuracy in women under 50 years old and an 86% accuracy in women over 50 years old compared to an 84% and 77% accuracy rate in women using digital screening mammography. The BT Test can be done yearly along with the physical exam for anyone between the ages of 35 and 75 years old.
The BT Test is covered by most private insurance providers including: Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Banner Health, Cigna, Health Net, Humana, Pacific Care and United Health Care. We are currently running tests through our office as we speak. If interested please call and schedule a blood draw and to find out more information about the company that provides the testing check out www.provistadx.com.