Carlton,
09
November
2017
|
06:39
Australia/Melbourne

BRCA gene test now free for patients at high-risk of breast and ovarian cancer

The Medical Services Advisory Committee made the decision last month to add free genetic testing to the Medicare Benefits Scheme for people at high risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

With 1 in 8 diagnosed, breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Australian women.

Dr. Melody Caramins from the Royal college of Pathologists of Australasia explained that the BRCA 1 and 2 genetic test would be made available with no out of pocket expense for patients and their families.

"It is a huge milestone and will significantly improve the lives of Australians, offering more choice via access to affordable screening and treatment options."

As a result of increased availability to the genetic testing, it is expected that the number of known patients with the mutation will increase.

Once a medical specialist has assessed a patient's family history and risk, they would be able to get the test for free.

For patients already with breast and/or ovarian cancer, free access to the test would also be offered to their relatives.

Dr. Caramins said that "if they don't have the mutation, they can go back to normal screening. If they do have it, they can then decide what action to take such as a double mastectomy."

You can read more about the decision: here.