New Myriad Genetics Survey Shows Breast Cancer Risk Factors Are Misunderstood

SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: MYGN), a leader in genetic testing and precision medicine, today announced results from a nationwide survey revealing breast density and family health history are two misunderstood breast cancer risk factors.

The Myriad Genetics Cancer Risk Survey found that nearly half (48%) of the women surveyed do not know what breast density is, and 50% are unsure if breast density has anything to do with breast cancer risk. Women with dense breasts are up to four times more likely to develop breast cancer compared to women without dense breasts.1 In addition, higher-density tissue can make it more difficult to detect breast masses or cancer during a mammogram and may require additional imaging tests. The Federal Drug Administration recently updated mammography regulations, requiring mammography facilities to notify patients about the density of their breasts by September 2024.

Additionally, few women feel like they have all the medical information they need from their mother’s side (19%) and father’s side (15%) to better understand their breast cancer risk. Nearly a quarter of women reported they don’t talk about health issues in their families as the primary reason they don’t know anything about their mother’s and father’s family medical history.
“Our survey revealed there is critical work that needs to be done to help women better understand how family history and breast density, in addition to other key factors, play into their overall breast cancer risk,” said Melissa Gonzales, President of Women’s Health, Myriad Genetics. “Having open conversations with your family and OB-GYN, and getting annual mammograms, are essential in breaking down these critical awareness gaps and staying on top of your breast health. For women with elevated risk factors, genetic testing can be a helpful tool that provides a cancer risk assessment personalized to them.”

A patient and provider catch a hidden cancer

Lisa Wade started annual mammograms in her thirties based on her family history of cancer. After reviewing her medical and family history, her provider recommended genetic testing to better understand her breast cancer risk.

“Though Lisa’s most recent mammogram came back clear, she had previous mammograms that showed areas of concern,” said Dr. Frantz, the provider who ordered a MyRisk® Hereditary Cancer Test with RiskScore® test for Lisa. “In addition to her family history, Lisa’s previous mammograms showed she had dense breast tissue, which can make breast cancer hard to spot on a mammogram.”

Lisa’s MyRisk with RiskScore results showed she had an approximately one in four chance of getting breast cancer. Based on that result, her provider ordered a series of tests, which led to a diagnosis of invasive ductal and lobular breast cancer.

“My mammogram simply didn’t show my cancer,” said Lisa. “My cancer is very aggressive, and it spread quickly. If I hadn’t taken the MyRisk test, I wouldn’t have had the other tests, which led to getting my diagnosis and surgery as quickly as I had. And it may have been too late to save my life.”

See the links below for more information about:

  • The survey and results
  • Lisa Wade shares her experience with genetic testing and breast cancer.
  • Myriad’s hereditary cancer test and risk assessment, MyRisk with RiskScore. MyRisk is the first and only validated hereditary cancer test to incorporate breast density using Tyrer-Cuzick version 8 (TCv8).

1 McCormack VA, dos Santos Silva I. Breast density and parenchymal patterns as markers of breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006;15(6):1159–69. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-06-0034 [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

About Myriad Genetics Cancer Risk nationwide survey
Myriad Genetics Cancer Risk Survey is a nationwide poll conducted online by ACUPOLL Precision Research, Inc. from June 20-29, 2023 among a statistically representative sample (n=1632) of U.S. females age 18+. The survey included a representative sample of women at high-risk for breast or ovarian cancer. The margin of error in survey results for the total base population at a 95% confidence interval is +/- 3%.

About MyRisk® Hereditary Cancer Test with RiskScore®
MyRisk® with RiskScore® evaluates 48 genes associated with hereditary cancer risk to identify genetic changes associated with an increased cancer risk for 11 different cancers. When combined with family history and other clinical factors such as breast density, MyRisk with RiskScore provides eligible patients with a breast cancer risk assessment individualized to them.

About Myriad Genetics
Myriad Genetics is a leading genetic testing and precision medicine company dedicated to advancing health and well-being for all. Myriad develops and offers genetic tests that help assess the risk of developing disease or disease progression and guide treatment decisions across medical specialties where genetic insights can significantly improve patient care and lower healthcare costs. For more information, visit

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