PINK HOPE WISH GRANTED: AFFORDABLE BRCA TESTING IS HERE
SYDNEY, 12 OCTOBER 2017 – Pink Hope has today welcomed the decision by Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) to provide free BRCA gene testing for families at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
A move Pink Hope has long-advocated for.
Until now, Aussies at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer – because of their family history – have been unable to access BRCA testing, due to high private costs or difficulty to access in the public healthcare system. Pink Hope, Australia’s only advocacy group dedicated to women at-risk of familial breast and ovarian cancer, has been advocating on this very issue for almost a decade.
Pink Hope Founder, Krystal Barter, who at age 22 underwent genetic testing and a subsequent preventative double mastectomy after returning positive for the BRCA gene, applauds the MSAC and the Government.
Today is a significant step forward for Australian women and their families. Genetic screening provides the 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.
It is estimated that 50% of BRCA mutation carrier are males. It is important for men to know their hereditary health and discuss their risk with their doctor.
Pink Hope has been encouraging women and men to be their own best health advocates when it comes to personal risk, of which screening is a significant component. Today’s announcement is a crucial step in mainstreaming genetic testing, so families don’t have to.
For women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, a genetic test could save their lives.
At least 10-15% of breast and ovarian cancers are the result of inheriting a faulty gene from either the mother’s or father’s side of the family. Women who carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 have up to 72% chance of developing breast cancer, and a 65% risk of developing ovarian cancer. There is a 50% chance of passing the gene to a child.
To be eligible for the test, it must be requested by a specialist or consultant physician, in an individual with breast or ovarian cancer for whom clinical and family history criteria, as assessed by the specialist or consultant physician which places the patient at greater than 10% risk of having a mutation linked to breast or ovarian cancer.
Pink Hope is urging those who are living with breast or ovarian cancer or have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer to speak to their doctor about their family history and whether they would benefit and are eligible to access genetic testing understand their cancer risk. Those concerned can also access a genetic counsellor online via Pink Hope and/or complete an online risk assessment with the ‘Know Your Risk’ tool available at http://pinkhope.org.au/know-your-risk/.
Further information on genetic testing can be found on the website at www.pinkhope.org.au.