Free Genetic Testing Will Soon Be Available To Women With Family History Of Breast Cancer

From November 1

Free Genetic Testing Will Soon Be Available To Women With Family History Of Breast Cancer

If you have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer you will soon be able to undergo free genetic tests to see if you are at risk of developing the deadly diseases.

The tests to see if patients have inherited genetic mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancers will be listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule from November 1.

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia's genetics advisory committee chair Dr Melody Caramins told AAP making the tests free marks a "huge milestone" and will significantly improve the lives of many Australians.

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

"For patients with cancer, it will change their management and treatment."

Up until now, patients have had to pay between $600 and $2000 to be tested by a private specialist or wait up to a year to receive a free check at a public hospital.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women, with an estimated 17,586 new cases expected to be diagnosed this year – and 3000 men and women are expected to die from the disease in 2017.

Women with BRCA1 mutations have on average a 72 per cent risk of developing breast cancer by the time they turn 80, a recent study found.

Those 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.

You can find your breast cancer risk using Pink Hope's online tool. 

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