The BRCA 1 and 2 genetic test will be available to high-risk patients and their families very soon. Those who are at high-risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer have previously paid up to $2000 for the test so the recent decision by the Medical Services Advisory Committee is much needed and warmly welcomed.
There was a lot of publicity around the test after actress Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy in 2013, after the BRCA test revealed she had the genetic mutation. Two years later she had her ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed after another health scare and considering her personal family history. Angelina Jolie's public announcement regarding her elective surgeries saw a rise in awareness of the BRCA testing and women worldwide choosing to have preventative surgeries themselves.
In her op-ed piece in the New York Times, titled 'My Medical Choice,' Angelina said, "I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."
Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 Australian women before the age of 80, making it the most common type of cancer for women in our country, it's no wonder the message from Angelina was received loud and clear.
Pathologists are saying that the increased access to the test will likely mean more patients with the mutation will be identified.
"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 said.
"For patients with cancer, it will change their management and treatment."
For more on the decision by the Medical Services Advisory Committee, read here.
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