It was reported at the Future of Genomic Medicine conference that a genetic test in the early weeks of pregnancy unexpectedly led 26 women to a cancer diagnosis. Women seeking information about the genetic make-up of their fetus – using Sequenom’s increasingly popular MaterniT21 test – were found to have various types of cancer that were previously undiscovered. While this is a rare occurrence (the test has been taken by 400,000 women), it is the first time a result like this has been widely reported. Virgina Hughes, writing for BuzzFeed, gives an overview in “Pregnant Women are Finding out They Have Cancer from a Genetic Test of their Babies“.
From an education standpoint, it seems that the informed consent process for women considering these tests must evolve once again, this time to discuss the possibility of learning not just about one’s fetus but also about one’s own health.