Myriad Genetics Launches Public Awareness Campaign in Five Midwest States to Reach Women with Increased Risk of Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

September 14, 2009 at 9:00 AM EDT

SALT LAKE CITY, Sept 14, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Myriad Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq: MYGN) announced today that it has launched a hereditary breast and ovarian cancer Public Awareness Campaign in five Midwest states, including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio. The initiative is a comprehensive effort designed to reach women with a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancers and the healthcare providers that treat them.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 200,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer this year. Up to ten percent of these cases will be due to an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Myriad's BRACAnalysis, a simple blood test, detects mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Women who carry one of these gene mutations have up to an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer and up to a 44 percent risk of developing ovarian cancer.

"There are approximately 500 thousand women in the U.S. who may be carrying a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation which predisposes them to developing breast or ovarian cancer," said Gregory C. Critchfield, M.D., President of Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc. "Doctors help patients understand their risks for breast or ovarian cancer, and help identify individuals that may benefit from BRACAnalysis(R) testing to help reduce their risks for cancer."

The public awareness campaign in the Midwest includes outreach and education to physicians, television advertising, and public relations efforts geared to reach consumers and physicians. The campaign is focused in five states, specifically Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio, in order to reach women who may be at risk in these states, which have abundant healthcare resources. The advertisements, which are running on major network television stations across these states through the spring of 2010, were designed to encourage women to talk to their doctor if they have a family history and to let them know that there are steps they can take to reduce their hereditary risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The advertisements also direct women who want to learn more about their inherited risk for these cancers to visit or to call 1-800-BRACNOW for more information.

"The BRACAnalysis test provides potentially life-saving information to women about their inherited risk. By expanding the campaign to the Midwest, we have a valuable opportunity to provide this information to a significant number of high-risk women," added Critchfield. "The response we received from patients and the medical community to our previous campaigns has been overwhelmingly positive. This feedback reinforced our commitment to educate more women and their doctors about the risk of hereditary cancer."

About Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two genes that normally work to prevent breast and ovarian cancer. But in some cases, a person inherits, from either parent, a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene with an alteration. This alteration or mutation interferes with the normal activity of the gene, making a person more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer. Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) is most often associated with families that have any one of the following: breast cancer before age 50; ovarian cancer at any age; both breast and ovarian cancer; two primary breast cancers; male breast cancer at any age; specific ethnic groups, particularly Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry; or a previously identified BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation in the family.

According to estimates, women with an altered BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a 56 to 87 percent risk to develop breast cancer by age 70, whereas the risk for women in the general population is only about 7 percent. Additionally, women with an altered BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a 27 to 44 percent risk to develop ovarian cancer by age 70, whereas the risk is less than two percent for women in the general population.

About BRACAnalysis(R)

BRACAnalysis(R) is a blood test which is sent to Myriad Genetic Laboratories where a sophisticated analysis of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene sequences is performed. The test detects alterations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to help determine a woman's risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer and has become the standard of care in identification of individuals with HBOC syndrome. In most cases, the test is covered by insurance.

About Myriad Genetics, Inc.

Myriad Genetics, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the development and marketing of novel therapeutic and molecular diagnostic products. Myriad's news and other information are available on the Company's Web site at BRACAnalysis(R) is a registered trademark of Myriad Genetics, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.

SOURCE Myriad Genetics, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2009 PR Newswire. All rights reserved