NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Myriad Genetics this week launched an advertising campaign in certain regions of the US aimed at educating women about the genetic risks of developing breast and ovarian cancers and selling its BRACAnalysis tests.
Myriad Genetics said it hopes its so-called BRACAnalysis Awareness Campaign, which will include television spots, will make more women aware of the genetic links to cancer, and get them to consult a physician or seek genetic counseling to find out if they should order the test.
The company is focusing on the Northeastern US and has begun its campaign this week in New York; Boston; Hartford, Conn.; and Providence, RI.
Myriad said the ads are supposed to be “informative, factual, positive and empowering with the goal of encouraging women to think about their family history of breast and ovarian cancers.”
“Our goal would be to assess the impact of the campaign in the Northeast and then, if the approach proves successful, then we would move it to other parts of the country,” CEO Gregory Critchfield told GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication Pharmacogenomics Reporter this week.
An early run of the ad featured the images and voices of women of various ages reading from the following script:
“Breast cancer runs in my family. My mother, my grandmother, my dad’s sisters. I wondered if it would be inevitable. I found out it didn’t have to be. I found out my risk through BRACAnalysis … a blood test that has helped thousands of women find out their risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. After BRACAnalysis, I realized I can choose to do something now, to help reduce my cancer risk now, with effective medical options.”
Myriad estimates that women with a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have a 56- to 87-percent risk of developing breast cancer by age 70. Women without the altered gene have a 7-percent risk.
The alteration also increases to between 27 percent and 44 percent the risk of developing ovarian cancer by age 70, compared with a 2-percent risk in the general population.
While Myriad would not say how much it plans to spend for the campaign, Critchfield told Pharmacogenomics Reporter that the company has invested "significant resources" in the effort.
The company said in a statement this week it estimates as many as 1 million women in the US inherit the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, but that fewer than 3 percent of these individuals are aware of their risk.
A comprehensive version of this article appears in the current Pharmacogenomics Reporter.