New Cheaper Test Available to Check for Breast Cancer Gene
Color Genomics in Burlingame, California is offering a much cheaper and easier test for women who wished to check if they are carriers of genetic mutations that increase their risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Here is a quick overview:
- The testing kit costs $249.00
- It’s described as a simple testing kit that can accurately analyze a saliva sample for mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA 2.
- It also can check for 17 other genetic variants that are associated with an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
- The announcement has sparked mixed reactions: Praising the option of cheaper genetic testing, while others say it might be not useful and could be harmful leading to uncessary actions such as mastectomies and oophorectomies (removal of breasts and ovaries.)
- Elad Gil one of the cofounders of Color Genomics states he was able to slash costs in a number of ways including using the latest technology to offer the testing kit cheaper.
- Gil states he can offer the test at a lower cost to prevent insurance companies being involve, thus allowing women to reasonably buy the test if they have no insurance or their insurance company refuses to cover the screening test.
- People interested in taking the test can either ask their doctor to order it for them or can contact the company directly through its website, so Color Genomics can arrange for a physician to place the order.
- The test kit is sent in the mail; the patient spits into a tube, and then mails it back to Color Genomics where the DNA from the saliva cells is analyzed.
- Gil says his company has validated the accuracy of its test in many ways.
- The results are published on their website:
- Currently, only women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer are routinely urged to get a BRCA tests. Typically only these women can get their insurance company to pay for a BRCA Test.
When I was diagnosed in 2009, I sought my insurance’s permission to have the BRCA tests because of my family history. It was considered a specialty test. My insurance company refused the request stating that this particular specialty test was not covered as a part of my insurance package. The cost of the BRCA test I needed was over $4000.00 at that time!
(Read more about this journey and other heath insurance issues one can faced during a breast cancer diagnosis in – MARCH FORTH: My Journey through Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery from Breast Cancer.)
My husband and I were faced with pulling this chunk of money out of our pockets that we didn’t have. At the time, we felt it was a life and death situation – too important to ignore or play Russian roulette with my life. Ultimately, after a change of insurance plans my BRCA test was covered.
Please talk to your medical professionals about this and other opportunities for breast prevention and treatment. Knowledge is powerful in treating any health issue.
It is also powerful when one has the option to use these screening tools and make some possible choices in healthcare prevention. If the test is reliable and valid as Color Genomics claims it is, then I feel strongly that women who need this test can make that decision for themselves whether or not they should pursue this test. When you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, women need as much information about their diagnosis as possible to make the best appropriate decision to help them beat this disease!
The above information was referenced from two articles:
“And As Always…MARCH FORTH!”
Marci A. Schmitt
Author, Blogger, Lecturer, Survivor, Consultant