There are specific genes that increase the risk that a person will develop breast cancer. Those genes tend to “run in families” and can be passed down from one generation to the next. There are now two new direct-to-consumer DNA tests that can be used to detect if a person has one of the genes that comes with a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Color Genomics has developed a test that will help people understand their genetic risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Their website points out that about 10% to 15 % of breast and ovarian cancers are due to inherited genetic mutations. This test is being marketed to women (however, it is possible for men to get breast cancer).
The test requires a person to provide a saliva sample. The test provides a comprehensive analysis of 19 genes, including the BRCA1 and BRAC2, that are associated with an increased risk of breast or ovarian cancer.
Color Genomics will designate a physician to review your information and order your test. That physician will contact you if any questions arise. Color Genomics also provides complementary genetic counseling and a board-certified counselor to walk a person through their test results.
Bloomberg notes that the DNA test from Color Genomics costs $249. The price is intended to be low enough to prevent people from having to ask their health insurance provider whether or not it will cover the cost of the test. The idea seems to be to circumvent insurance coverage all together.
Invitae is another company that offers a direct-to-consumer DNA test. It can be used to test for the BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes, and the genes involved with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, and gynecological cancers. Invitae offers a total of 1,500 genetics tests for patients.
Forbes reported that the cost of the test kit will be $475. But, that price is only being offered to consumers who do not use their health insurance to pay for it.
Tests that are going to be paid through a health insurer will have a higher price. It will cost $950 for consumers who have Invitae tests in their network, and $1,500 for people whose insurance does not include Invitae as part of their network.
Genealogists who want to know if the BRAC1 or BRAC2 gene runs in their family now have a couple more options open to them that will help them find out. In both cases, it will be more economical for those who can pay the cost of the test out-of-pocket (and keep their insurance out of it).
Image by Shardayyy on Flickr.
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