Color’s attempt to tackle at-home cancer testing on the cheap
In this article by Kara Swisher of Re/code, Color, a new at-home breast and ovarian cancer-risk screening company, is at the center of attention. The company produces $249 physician-ordered kits that screen genes that may show early mutations that lead to breast or ovarian cancers. In short, a woman orders a kit, a licensed physician reviews the order and dispatches the kit to the person’s home, a saliva sample is collected and the results are posted to a secure online portal after processing for the woman to review. The company even offers free genetic counseling so the user can better understand what the results mean. Swisher discusses how the company recently secured $15 million in funding for its venture and how the funds aim to boost Color’s growth and get the kits in the hands of more women. I think this is an awesome–and affordable–idea. I also think “minute clinics” and family doctors are going to be disrupted by this new innovation. Because women can order the kit and get the test right in their home, it takes the doctor “middleman” out of the equation, making the entire process less painful. Additionally, because this kit tests genetics, something that isn’t usually done in a doctor’s office or clinic, there is opportunity for a more robust and holistic view of the user’s health–ultimately and hopefully helping them avoid cancer altogether. I think there might be a security risk (someday) with sending genetic information through the mail, having it posted online, etc.–but when you think about it, I’m not sure there is any real value in someone stealing your cancer-risk data. So, for now, I see that as a non-issue. What do you think? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Would you buy one of the kits?