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Health Beat: New, improved breast biopsies

Health Beat: New, improved breast biopsies

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - By swabbing his patient's cheek, Dr. Andrew Kenler avoids even one woman from hearing this:

"About 1,000, maybe 1,500, women are told. 'Hey, Mrs. Jones, you have breast cancer,' and she does not," said Kenler, breast surgeon, Bridgeport Hospital, Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Kenler said so many steps go into testing breast biopsies that human errors can occur, and do. A simple DNA test ends the mix-ups and, more importantly, the consequences.

"She can have unnecessary surgery, lumpectomy, mastectomy, [and] unnecessary chemotherapy," said Kenler, who advises all his patients to take the "know error" test.

The test costs $300, and every positive breast biopsy is sent to the test's lab in Indianapolis to match with the DNA on file. A match means his patient is getting her correct results.

For Jacquelyn Conlon, it wasn't what she wanted to hear two years ago.

"I had stage 2A breast cancer," Conlon said.

She got the truth because, as thousands of women are told, they "do" have it but actually don't, another woman is being told she "doesn't" have it and she does.

"It gives you the confidence that your diagnosis is truly indeed your diagnosis," explained Conlon, who got her answer, completed her treatment and lives cancer-free today.

In some cases, the test is covered by insurance. In instances where it is not, many women have chosen to pay $300 out of pocket and purchase the know error test themselves.

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