Free Genetic Tests For Breast Or Ovarian Cancer Available Soon

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Free Genetic Tests For Breast Or Ovarian Cancer Available Soon

Women who have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer will have a chance to get free genetic tests next month to know if they are at risk of developing these diseases.

The tests will identify if patients have inherited genetic mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancers. It will also give them an estimate of their risk of getting a new primary cancer during their lifetime.

The tests will be listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule from November 1.

Dr Melody Caramins, chair of The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia’s genetics advisory committee, describes giving the tests free as a ‘huge milestone’ and will significantly improve the lives of many Australians. She said in a statement on Thursday:

“If an individual is a carrier of a BRCA mutation, they will have additional treatments available to them. This is certainly the case if they already have breast cancer, however if they don’t have breast cancer, they will have access to monitoring and the possibility to take preventative measures such as a prophylactic mastectomy.”

Up until now, patients must fork out between $600 and $2000 to be tested by a private specialist, while others will have to wait for up to a year to receive a free check at a public hospital.

You Can Now Get Free Genetic Tests For Breast Or Ovarian Cancer! | Stay at Home Mum

Patient advocacy group Pink Hope that had been campaigning for free genetic testing for this high-risk group of women is thankful for this development.

“Genetic screening provides information individuals need to make informed decisions about their health, to manage their own risk and if currently living with cancer, have more personalised treatment,” said Pink Hope founder, Krystal Barter. “‘Today’s announcement is a crucial step in mainstreaming genetic testing, so families don’t have to have to live in doubt any longer.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women, with an estimated 17,586 new cases expected to be diagnosed this year alone.

Researchers from the Peter Mac Cancer Centre, University of Melbourne and Cancer Council Victoria found in a recent study that women with BRCA1 mutations have on average a 72 per cent risk of developing breast cancer by the time they turn 80, while women with the BRCA2 mutation had a 69 per cent chance.

A woman who has one or more relatives with breast cancer is also found to have a higher risk than a carrier of the same mutation with no family history.


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